Archive for the ‘Celebrities’Category

Sports Need More Women in to Change The Culture!

There is a sickening trend going on outside the lines in sports. Athletes, some from as early as grade school, are being coddled and given a sense of entitlement that has them feeling they have a place above the law.

The most disturbing aspect of this centers on the abuse of women. I have seen far too many of these stories where the likes of TMZ now has a devoted “sports” section where the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Lawrence Taylor, and the worst of these actions, a UVA lacrosse player, George Huguely, murdering a women’s lacrosse player, Yeardley Love.

Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins may have said it best when she penned a column on Saturday saying, “It’s a bad stretch for women in the sports pages. After reading the news accounts and police reports, it’s reasonable to ask: Should women fear athletes? Is there something in our sports culture that condones these assaults?”

In my 50-plus years in sports as an athlete, coach, academic advisor, athletics director, and agent, I have a strong feeling that if sports had more female coaches, administrators, and agents we would see some changes in our sports culture where we would witness less of these tragedies – tragedies where  male athletes treat women as trash, and the word “boorish” seems wholly inadequate a word to articulate their behavior.

To be clear, I do not condemn all male athletes nor am not saying all problems will go away with installing more females in positions of power in athletics. What I am saying is there is a culture now where male athletes are taken away from the mother and grandmother at the age of 18 and placed in a purely male dominated culture where machismo is a way of life, and women can be described more in terms of property than with respect.

Women can provide a checks and balance in our world in a beautiful way. In a tip to Mother’s Day this past Sunday, think about becoming a Sport Leader! We will always need you in all Walks of Life, on and off the field.

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05 2010

With Roethlisberger, the NFL Has to Say, “Enough is Enough!”

The trimmings that come with athletes moving into the highest ranks of professional sports can sometimes be overwhelming. The money and fame can often change perceptions, and we as player agents have to be vigilant in offering advice, or at the very least, making sure that with the good, a player doesn’t stumble into the bad.

Such has been the case with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, who has found himself, yet again, involved in sexual assault claims.

“Big Ben” dodged a bullet with District Attorney who was considering prosecuting Roethlisberger. Fred Bright, the DA, said that there was not enough evidence to pursue an alleged sexual assault in Georgia last month, but Roethlisberger is far from being out of the doghouse. This is not the first claims of sexual misconduct by Roethlisberger (the other was in Reno), but either the Steelers or Commissioner Goodell will be meeting with him and it seems all but a given that some sort of punishment will be forthcoming.

As an agent I am concerned about future careers of players in the NFL.  There has to be some sense of accountability. Agents need to engage with their player clients, as best they can, to avoid such actions.

But, when it comes to Roethlisberger, enough is enough! If he were my client, and I felt I could not influence him in order to change his behavior, I would drop him. Yes, there were no charges, but as the Georgia District Attorney Fred Bright said, “We are not condoning Mr. Roethlisberger’s actions that night,” Bright said. “But we do not prosecute morals. We prosecute crimes.”

I started SMWW to provide a client with a one-on-one mentoring relationship through our Agent Advisor program. We continue to strive toward this key tenant of our work here at SMWW. Here’s to hoping that we see less and less of these types of behaviors, such as Roethlisberger continues to find himself in.

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04 2010

Can Tiger ever again be the endorsement king?

In light of his recent “transgressions,” a major company jumped off the Tiger Woods bandwagon this week, while two others announced they’ll stay with him.

It’s pretty clear that while Tiger may return to his sport and continue to be the No. 1 golfer in the world, it’s unlikely he’ll be the King of Endorsements, as he once was. That title is probably going to pass on to Peyton Manning.

Tiger can make an endorsement comeback, because his impact on the PGA Tour when he returns from his self-imposed exile will be huge. Television ratings for his comeback will be monstrous and whichever corporation is fortunate enough to be sponsoring that tournament will benefit in a big way.

Which goes to show you that sponsoring events, rather than individuals, has always been the safest bet. Tiger was considered a low-risk, safe spokesman — up on his pedestal, safe and secure from controversy.

But no longer.

Event sponsorship, on the other hand, is dependent on a collection of people and the drama of the event itself. And as Tiger has taught us, sometimes that person up on the pedestal has feet of clay. And if he falls, a lot of endorsement money is at risk.

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12 2009

Here’s what Tiger Woods SHOULD have done

As a former athletic director at the college level, and a sports agent now for many years, I’ve been forced to deal with difficult situations that could involve negative publicity.

And I can tell you that Tiger Woods’ situation last weekend is a primer on how NOT to deal with the perils of negative publicity when it comes to a celebrity.

It took Woods two days to make any sort of public statement. When it did come, it was on his blog. And it was too little, too late, as the firestorm of speculation had already burned hot and bright. The problem these days is that if you don’t tell the story, someone else is going to dig until they find it — or make something up altogether.

And the speculation in these cases can become worse than reality.

The first stories of Woods’ early-morning traffic accident outside his Florida home last Friday made it sound as if he was seriously injured. There was genuine concern that he was not only hurt but that his golf career was in jeopardy.

As it turned out, Woods’ injuries appear to be minor and he was treated and soon released from a hospital near his Florida home. But it took until Sunday before golf’s greatest star addressed the issue on his website.

By then, the story had taken on a life of its own as all sorts of speculation appeared, trying to fill the void where no information from Woods was available.

Woods’ mistakes were twofold. This instance screamed for an almost immediate comment from Woods about his physical condition. It would have calmed the waters a lot if he’d just issued some sort of statement immediately about the extent of his injuries and how they would impact his golf career.

Second, in today’s world, as much as he’d like to keep all of this private, that’s going to be a very tough task. A celebrity’s life is an open book. Websites, magazines and television shows exist in some cases for the sole purpose of revealing details of the lives of famous people.

Ultimately, it may be smart for Tiger Woods to come forward with as much detail as he possibly can about the incident. If he did something stupid or embarrassing, the public will most likely forgive and forget. But hiding details only increases the public’s desire to know — and will increase scrutiny on Woods’ private life.

David Letterman provided a blueprint for dealing with embarrassing incidents in one’s personal life with his handling of an affair he had with one of his show’s interns. Letterman took time early in one of his programs and admitted the whole embarrassing affair. It was a difficult chore, I would guess, for a man with a wife and young child.

But by stepping forward, Letterman disarmed anyone interested in further details and probably diffused any chance of much further scrutiny. Just a few weeks later, you hardly hear anything about Letterman’s problems as the public’s thirst for dirt on celebrities — and the “news” outlets that feed it — have moved on.

And for now at least, they’ve moved on to Tiger Woods.

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11 2009