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How The Melky Cabrera Chaos Is Affecting ACES Baseball Agency

August 5, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; San Francisco Giants left fielder Melky Cabrera (53) hits a single during the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

It has been well-documented that Melky Cabrera, who has been suspended 50 games for use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) is a client of ACES baseball agency, a company owned and managed by brothers Sam and Seth Levinson, and that the company has been under investigation since it was discovered that a person associated with the agency (Juan Nunez) may have been involved in an attempt to cover-up Cabrera’s drug use.  Also noted by many in the baseball industry is that ACES recently lost clients Nyjer Morgan and Shane Victorino; however, at least one writer says that the Victorino move may be completely unrelated to the investigation of Melky Cabrera.

Yesterday, Maury Brown wrote an article that appeared on Baseball Prospectus titled, The Strange Case of Melky Cabrera Spills Over to His Agency.  What is most interesting about Brown’s coverage of the issue is that he highlights the October 2010 MLBPA Regulations Governing Player Agents and the Association’s creation of an Agent Advisory Committee as a “sounding board” for the new regulations.  That committee is made up of nine Player Agents, and according to Brown, one of the Levinson brothers may be on the panel.

“In October of 2010, the MLBPA rolled out a policy by which anyone who worked with a player agency and had contact with a player would only have access to limited MLBPA certification. The MLBPA was noticing problems with “runners,” such as Nunez, who had relationships with players but were not certified as agents. The union felt they had the right to regulate the conduct of those working with players, even if that person was not actually an agent but merely in contact through an agency.

At nearly the same time, the union created an Agent Advisory Committee as a sounding board. The nine-member committee is a cross-section of the agent base. Some of the agents on the board are high-profile, while others are small. No agency is on the board, but rather agents within them. With agents spread all over the country representing small and the large agencies, the committee provides feedback to the union. The term—just now ending for the agents presently on the committee—is two years, but not all the panel will be rotated out to allow continuity. As an interesting sidebar, according to sources, one of the Levinsons is on the advisory panel. There is no word as to which one and whether he will remain when the new term begins.”
It is too early to tell how all of this will affect the Levinsons and their practice.  However, if the pending investigation uncovers facts that reveals ACES was involved in the Cabrera scam or worse, that the Levinson brothers acted as an intermediary between former MLB catcher Paul Lo Duca and a PED distributor, the consequences could be dire.  In the meantime, the Levinsons have maintained their innocence.

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.