‘Keepers’ of the Bling

first_imgDuring the past year we have heard all of the verbiage concerning the lockout or should I say legal and economic arm wrestling between the NFL and its players. The lockout or strike, depending on what side of the fence that you sit on, is now in its eleventh week. Regardless of what “we” think or feel, this interruption of America’s version of “Gladiators Daily” is not about the love or playing the sport of pro football. The responsibility belongs to more than the players, owners and NFL in regards to disrupting America’s football “fix.”Oh say can’t you see the greed of the sports agents? These are the guys and gals that have never “busted a grape” on the field, However they are bustin’ the pocketbooks of young athletes exiting the colleges and universities of America looking for the “goose that laid the golden egg, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They urge them to sign flawed and almost totally one sided agreements which may include “deferred money” clauses that enable teams to satisfy their financial obligations to certain athletes just prior to those individuals qualifying for Social Security. A few of these misguided players may have to go see J.G.Wentworth; 877.cash.now in order to get a percentage of their loot before they meet their maker. They may have to shout from a few rooftops; “It’s my money and I want it now.” How much of the agent’s loot is deferred? Historically, not much.According to the business insider the top ten sports agents are; 1. Scott Boras who currently has negotiated contracts in excess of $701M. 2.Fernando Cuza who holds deals worth more than $389M. 3. Tom Condon has players whose gross value is in excess of $326M. 4. Art Tellem $334M. 5. Rob Pelinka, $274M. 6. Bill Duffy, $274M. 7. Dan Lazano, $269M. 8. Casey Close, $259M. 9. Leon Rose, $254M. 10. Dan Fegan, $255M. Now let’s bring out the ole calculators, ladies and gents. That adds up to quite a few Brussels sprouts. Here are a few of the payment methods that determine how agents get paid. Percentage—Agent takes a percentage of a contract, typically 3-5 percent. Time—Agent, typically an attorney, charges an hourly rate, typically $400/hour. Flat-Fee—Agent may agree to perform services for a flat fee. Combination – Agent charges by a combination of these methods. Now it should be pretty easy to see how a young man from the inner-city and his “folks” could be easily manipulated by “the sly, the slick and the wicked, wicked, wicked, yeah” you dig. Especially those athletes whose scholastic endeavors equaled a few less bricks less than it took to make a full load.Some of these “agents” remind me of ambulance chasers. Don’t fake the funk and don’t put on your amnesia hat. You either have to personally know someone who has the old neck brace on with a perfectly good neck or knows of someone, who knows of someone that is bothered more by the neck brace than the imaginary injury itself. The only big difference between a sports agent and an ambulance chaser is that agents usually attempts to hide injuries as opposed to profiling them. Not all agents are unscrupulous but finding one would be like finding a laborer from a fertilizer processing plant smelling like she was wearing “White Diamonds” just prior to her finishing her shift. If the income of agents had a ceiling in regards to compensation of agents there would be no need for greed because there would be no motivation to sculpture economically perverted contracts.For example; let’s begin with first round NFL contracts. Theoretically, if an agent could only earn $500,000-1M on a contract of a player drafted in the first round then attempting to secure a $15-20 million dollar deal would be counter-productive because there would be almost no logical reason or incentive for the agent to gouge the team, or the player.The feudal and serf-like fiscal scheme utilized in professional sports was built upon and is sustained by cronyism, nepotism, shady smoky “backroom-ism” and every crafty and creepy ism and “schism” that will keep the money in the hands of the few and out of the hands of the many. These secret agent men have given us all numbers and have taken away our names. Do you really want to bring credibility to sports? Forget about writing your local Senator or Congressperson.Write the greedy sports agents. Make them aware of your true feelings. Tell them it is not their money. It’s your money and you want it now. Every product advertised on television that is connected with sports, you buy it. All of the team shirts and jackets and shoes peddled everywhere, you buy it. If not public dollars, there would be no dollars for anyone. Let them know that if they do not respect “Union currency” then you can always revert to the confederate “loot” hidden in the attic.(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: abruceewpittsburghcourier.com or 412-583-6741.)last_img read more

Thunder star Kevin Durant makes $1M tornado pledge

first_imgOklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball player Kevin Durant walks past tornado-damaged homes in a neighborhood in Moore, Okla., May 22. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)by John KrawczynskiAP Basketball WriterMINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Oklahoma City isn’t just a place where Thunder star Kevin Durant lives these days. It’s home.So as he watched the horrifying images Monday as a tornado ripped through suburban Moore, the emotions came bubbling to the surface and so did the need to help. Durant pledged $1 million for tornado relief through his foundation on Tuesday, eager to help a devastated area begin to rebuild.“As the day went on and I saw the footage and the casualties and the houses being blown away, it was tough to see,” said Durant, who was in Minneapolis to watch longtime friend Monica Wright play a preseason game for the Minnesota Lynx. “I call Oklahoma City my home. I go through Moore all the time. It’s unfortunate. We’re going to come together as a city like we always do and we’re going to bounce back.”Durant has been in Oklahoma City for five years now, ever since the Seattle SuperSonics moved there in 2008. He’s become a fixture in the community, in addition to establishing himself as one of the very best players in the NBA. He said he was hoping to return home Wednesday to try and lift the spirits of an area reeling from the deaths of some two dozen people, including children.“Just to get to the hospital, see some kids,” Durant said. “Something. Just something to give some hope. Playing for the Thunder, we mean so much to the state. So many people support us and I just want to go back and support those people.”The American Red Cross said the gift from Durant’s foundation is meant to match other donations and be an incentive for more people to give. The Thunder also announced a $1 million donation, as did the NBA and players’ union.“Our hearts go out to all those affected by the devastation that has occurred within our community this week,” Thunder chairman Clay Bennett said in a statement issued by the team. “We are focusing Thunder resources to help where we can in the relief efforts and to support the organizations that are on the ground assisting those affected by this week’s storms. Even with so much loss, the strength and resiliency of this community have once again been on display, and we will continue to work together as our community and state recover from this disaster.”When Durant initially heard reports of a tornado near Oklahoma City, he didn’t pay them much mind. A veteran of the area now, he knows twisters can be a regular occurrence this time of year. It quickly became apparent that this one was different, and Durant could barely watch it all unfold.“It hit so close to home,” he said. “It was tough to see.”And it made the Thunder’s early exit from the playoffs sting that much more. With Russell Westbrook out because of a knee injury, the Thunder were beaten by the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference semifinals, a disappointing finish for a team that advanced to the NBA Finals a year ago.“I wish I could’ve done a better job for my team to stay in the playoffs because of course basketball and sporting events bring everyone together,” Durant said. “It takes your mind off it for a few hours.”The Thunder boast one of the most loyal and passionate fan bases in the league. Durant averaged 30.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists in the playoffs, but the rest of his teammates struggled to step up and fill Westbrook’s void.“There’s some part of me wishing I could’ve played better for my team to stay in the playoffs,” Durant said. “Hopefully they get back on their feet. It’s so tough. Praying for the families. I’m feeling for them.”___AP Sports Writer Jeff Latzke in San Antonio contributed to this report.___Online: www.redcross.orglast_img read more