Football Agents & Public Relations

Maybe it’s because I’ve only just noticed it, but it seems to me that now more than ever I am noticing athlete’s agent’s names in print whenever a story has something to do with negotiations. Again, maybe I’m wrong, but it seems like a new phenomenon. And it seems deliberate.

I know, for example, that Daunte Culpepper‘s agent is Mason Ashe, Fred Smoot‘s agent is James "Bus" Cook, Bryant McKinnie‘s agent is Ben Dogra, Troy Williamson is represented by David Canter and Ethan Lock has Erasmus James as a client. I know these agents names simply because I read stories about the players’ contract negotiations.

I don’t recall ever knowing players’ agents before this year. I suspect that’s because the agents figured out that it was a good PR move to get their names in print.

It’s free advertising for the agents. With their names print alongside those of their clients, each rising generation of football players knows who represents whom and therefore, who might represent themselves. The rising celebrity of agents can also benefit the players themselves.

Just ask any Green Bay Packers fan who they are more angry at: hold-outs Javon Walker and Grady Jackson, or their superstar agent Drew Rosenhaus. Most fans will blame Rosenhaus for the player’s behavior, sparing the player the wrath of the fans and helping ease their transition when the hold-out ends.

Citing Rosenhaus, of course, is a double-edged sword. Rosenhaus is perhaps the perfect example of an agent who deliberately attracts the spotlight. He’s been the subject of an hour-long ESPN segment and his controversial tactics invite media attention to himself.

But as of today, is tactics appear to have backfired for his most high-profile client, Terrell Owens, who returned to practice with the Eagles today amid renewed media speculation that the team will not conceed to his demands.

Despite the Owens/Rosenhaus situation, the growing celebrity of agents is an interesting, and logical, phenomenon.

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