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The NFL Should Look Into The NBA’s Conflict Of Interest Regulations

Many NFLPA certified Contract Advisors are severely conflicted between representing players and the coaches and/or front office NFL team personnel.  No agency might be more conflicted than the newly formed SportsTrust Advisors, which is the result of a merger of Jimmy Sexton’s Athletic Resource Management (ARM) and Pat Dye, Jr.’s ProFiles Sports, Inc.

No issue when they are negotiating a contract for Phillip Merling, a Miami Dolphins players, and Sexton/Dye are also Bill Parcells’ agents?  What about working on a deal for Calvin Pace or Tony Richardson while they have Rex Ryan as a client?  On top of the issues surrounding conflicts of representing both sides who are at least some part of a negotiation, there are questions regarding coach clients potentially giving preferential treatment to their agents’ clients over other agents clients and/or providing any type of help to their agents in the recruitment of new clientele.

These conflicts are not only a concern with SportsTrust Advisors.  Many other agencies represent NFL team executives, including head coaches, and NFL players.  This dual representation is currently permitted by the NFLPA as long as there is full disclosure of all entities represented to each client.  But should it be allowed in the future?

The NBA takes care of the aforementioned potential conflicts by forbidding agents from representing coaches and players.  The NFLPA should do its due diligence and seriously look into adopting similar regulations to root out conflicts of interest.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

One reply on “The NFL Should Look Into The NBA’s Conflict Of Interest Regulations”

This has always been an ehtical issue. I hope that this issue will be regarded as one essential to real “agency” work.

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