Very fascinating article from Fox Business about Kristen Kuliga, a female sports agent. More appropriately the female sports agent, as it is not an industry merely favored by men but rather almost entirely dominated by them. If not for Kristen Kuliga. Her credentials:
Kuliga is one of a handful of females certified by the National Football League Player's Association to be a sports agent. She currently has eight football players as clients, including Tennessee Titan Linebacker Jeremy Cain and Jets Punter Ben Graham. In 2001, she became a certified agent and negotiated Doug Flutie's contract--becoming the first woman to negotiate a starting NFL quarterback's contract.
Reasons why this might be a male dominated industry range from the obvious -- the NFL is played entirely by men, though I've heard there is no rule in place prohibiting women from competition -- to the subtle, such as:
When another agent, Tony Agone, says his daughter was thinking about becoming a sports agent, he told her "no way."
"It's tough," Agone says. "Not a lot of women make it. You have to be really hard-headed to make it in this industry, plus she would make a lot more money as a [veterinarian]."
That's the way to encourage your child to pursue their dreams! Incidentally, per this 2003 article
, women have taken over the vet industry from men for many reasons, one being "a "trend effect" (as more women enter the veterinary profession, it decreases the profession prestige as a male occupation)[.]"
Anyways, what does this have to do with the Redskins? Not much, admittedly, though I do think it's an interesting read. However, some wisely unnamed Washington Redskins rep came out with this utterly self-defeating bit:
Later that morning, word gets back to Kuliga that her persistent pitching is paying off. A representative from the Washington Redskins told Gary Wichard, founder of Pro Tect Management, he wished Kuliga weren't so good at getting her players' names out. The more teams that are interested in a player, the better the contract Kuliga can negotiate.
Because saying that can't possibly encourage agents to over-promote their players disingenuously more than they do already
. Unsolicited PR tip to all Redskins representatives: If someone asks
you if you're a god, you say "YES"!
you whether or not you prefer agents that successfully get the word out about their client or ones that do not successfully get the word out about their clients, you say: "No comment."
Maybe I'm barking up an uninhabited tree, but good agents are bad for teams (great for players) and we needn't encourage them. Drew Rosenhaus has the Redskins by the short and curlies enough as is without encouraging cheerleader quotes for his industry from people associated with the team.
While we're here, there's a somewhat controversial issue relating to player salaries that might as well get discussed now. I'm of the opinion that contracts are legal instruments that the signing parties have an obligation to honor. That also happens to be the opinion of the people adjudicating disputes that arise out of these contracts. Drew Rosenhaus is not necessarily of that opinion. Quoting:
In a league where contracts are not generally guaranteed, Rosenhaus argues that there is no such thing as the sanctity of a contract. If teams can cut his players or force them to restructure their contracts, Rosenhaus said, he's within his rights asking for more money when their performance exceeds expectations.
It is, even considering the volatile source, a fairly reasonable business argument.
"A team can call me and say, 'Hey, Drew, we know that we have your client under contract for another four or five years, but he's hurt and we're going to cut him,' " Rosenhaus said. "But it's sacrilegious, it's outrageous for me to ask for more if a player outperforms his deal. That's a joke. That stinks."
With these last two sentences, Rosenhaus' voice rises to something approaching a scream...
"If contracts can be cut, why can't they be raised? Explain that to me."
I think he does have a very legitimate point here in that players are married to contracts to a more significant degree than teams are married to their players. I'd remind Drew, though, that there isn't anything in the instrument that prevents players from insuring themselves against injury in the contracting process and, in fact, that's precisely what they do with guaranteed moneys. The reasons contracts can be severed by teams is because that is part and parcel of the terms of that contract; the player, in convincing a team to pay them millions of dollars, agrees to a legally binding document that basically signs away any rights to participation with the team at some point in the future whenever the team feels like it.
So, to answer Drew's now 3 year old question as to why contracts can be cut but not raised, it's because contracts explicitly permit for the cutting but not for the raising. As a practical matter, contracts can be raised and that is precisely what happens with incentive bonuses and roster bonuses, which are fees contingent on some event happening that is determined either largely or exclusively by what the player does for the team. I think hold outs are chicken-shit, just my opinion, though. If a player signs a contract for 4 years at X money, they have an obligation to play for 4 years at an amount no more than X moneys. If a team signs a contract to player for 4 years for an amount no more than X money with the stipulation that the player can be cut, their obligation is somewhat less than the one in the preceding example, yea?
Or not. I've opened that Pandora's box and encourage you all to let me have it.