David's Blog

On this page, I'll share my thoughts, and any articles or information I think are of interest.  Feel free to use the comments section to join in the discussion!

A list you never want to be on

The Most Disliked People In Sports
Tom Van Riper, 06.18.10, 11:00 AM ET

When it comes to turning off the public, Michael Vick and Al Davis are champions.

Michael Vick has been out of prison for almost a year. He's publicly apologized for his role in a dog-fighting ring that landed him behind bars for 21 months. He's got an uncontroversial year on the football field behind him as a part-timer for the Philadelphia Eagles, who have picked up his option for another season.

Yet Vick's image rehab is moving along at a snail's pace. For the second year in a row he tops our list of Most Disliked People in Sports, with 69% of those polled citing Vick as someone they "Dislike a lot," "Dislike," or "Dislike some" according to E-Poll Market Research.

The ASPCA turned down Vick's offer to work with them on animal cruelty prevention. Nonetheless, Vick still appears poised for a recovery with the public. Unlike some athletes whose main talent seems to be getting in trouble, Vick was a popular and dynamic player before the dog-fighting episode--all he must do is repent for the single episode that sent his stock dropping like lead.

But it takes time, especially when minimal playing time leaves few opportunities to draw enough media attention to match the nonstop coverage his criminal case drew last year.

"The general public largely still knows him for the dog fighting," says Gerry Philpott, E-Poll's CEO, citing his unusually high 54% awareness rating. "If you were to limit the responses to just NFL fans, Vick's number would probably skew lower." as a player, coach, manager, broadcaster, agent or owner. A 10% minimum awareness level was also a prerequisite (that eliminated drug-using cyclist Floyd Landis and money-grubbing baseball agent Scott Boros, both very much disliked by the few but anonymous to the many).

Right behind Vick in this year's poll: Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, a longtime maverick with a history of clashing with the NFL, coaches and politicians in northern and southern California over stadium deals that have led him to move the club twice. Also making the list is fellow renegade NFL owner Jerry Jones, who likes to run the Dallas Cowboys as more of a freestanding business than as part of a league.

Others making an appearance: baseball's steroid poster boys, Alex Rodriguez and Mark McGwire (McGwire's return to coaching this year made him eligible for the list), along with football wide receiver diva Terrell Owens and gun-wielding NBA star Gilbert Arenas

The most significant new entries this year, unsurprisingly, are Tiger Woods and Ben Roethlisberger, the latest pair making tabloid headlines for their extracurricular activities. Woods' infidelities have been well chronicled since last fall, with most crisis-management experts saying his public apology came too late. Now that he's back on the course, most think a tournament win or two, coupled with good behavior, should get him back on track. But as with Vick, it takes time.

Roethlisberger, though, has his work cut out for him. While accusations of sexual assault against him by a Georgia college student didn't lead to formal charges, the episode left the public with a picture of him as a 28-year-old frat boy.

The assault allegation "was bad, but the videos of Ben at the night club didn't help him either," says Cindy Rakowitz, a Los Angeles-based crisis management consultant. "His apology didn't seem sincere, nor did it get as much airplay as the video of him handing out shots and dancing to Miley Cyrus."

And, unlike Woods, he plays a team sport. The six-game suspension levied against him by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hurts the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010. Fans can be tough when what they see as selfish behavior has consequences for the team. The fans' memo to Big Ben: Grow up.


Bigger definitely isn't better

The following story is a great example(even though it's from the NFL) of how players get "lost in the shuffle" in big agencies. This isn't just another player either but a former Heisman Trophy winner who was the first pick in the draft Ricky Williams.
        You will see in the story that when his client needed him to stand up & take the heat Leigh Steinberg (who is Jeff Moorad's partner) was nowhere to be found, unlike when there's an opportunity to take credit when he's all over the press. Instead, as you will see in the story, Williams' business is handed to "a Steinberg associate".

Alex Marvez

Published June 22, 2002
Williams’ agent

Dolphins officials are privately steamed at agent Leigh Steinberg for some of Williams’ off-field driving problems.

Williams was stopped Tuesday by Fort Lauderdale police and ticketed for having an expired tag and for driving without a driver’s license and proof of insurance. When an officer thought Williams was “acting incoherently” during questioning, he was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police vehicle. A drug-sniffing dog then went through the vehicle before Williams was cleared to leave.

While Williams is ultimately responsible for having the wrong tags on his vehicle, the Dolphins believe Steinberg’s office should take a more proactive approach in helping him get his act together off the field.

The Dolphins also blame Steinberg and Co. for not properly handling a ticket Williams received in February for driving 126 mph. A bench warrant was issued for Williams’ arrest when he failed to appear for an April court appearance in Louisiana, which was a matter the Dolphins claim Steinberg’s office said it would handle.

The matter was eventually settled when Williams paid a $500 fine. But that incident, combined with a slew of others that surfaced this week involving Fort Lauderdale police, are painting an unflattering picture of the team’s most high-profile player.

Don West, a Steinberg associate who works closely with Williams, didn’t return a telephone call seeking comment.


NFL agent, players linked to bank lawsuit
2 players agree to big court judgments; lawyer for third says FBI seeking evidence of criminal fraud

Staff writer

Two NFL players and agent Sean Jones have agreed to court judgments against them totaling nearly $2 million, and a third player has leveled what may be the most damaging charges yet against the prominent agent.

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban said in a sworn declaration that Jones "fraudulently induced" him into participating in a $1 million real estate loan, and that he never signed an application or financial statement for the loan.

Jones refused to comment for publication.

Terry Ray, Ekuban's Dallas-based attorney, said he and Ekuban spent about six hours meeting with FBI agents last month. "I can tell you the FBI made it very clear that there is an ongoing criminal bank fraud investigation and they are looking at specific transactions," Ray said. The FBI agents are trying to "sort out who was the victim and who was the criminal," he said.

The FBI wouldn't comment on whether it is conducting an investigation.

Shaun Williams of the New York Giants and Brian Williams of the Detroit Lions, both with Jones, agreed to judgments in a federal court in Houston that they must repay more than $990,000 each after Whitney National Bank sued them for defaulting on real estate loans.

Ekuban's case is currently in court.

Marvin Rader, a lawyer who represented both Williamses last year, said both of those players were also interviewed by the FBI about the loans. All of the loans were part of a plan to convert Houston area apartments into condos.

Brian Williams' and Shaun Williams' current lawyer did not return phone calls.

Ekuban recently fired Jones and Marvin Demoff as his contract advisers, Ray said. A letter was sent to Jones, who has represented Ekuban since he was a first-round pick in the 1999 NFL draft, dismissing him and demanding a full accounting of the Whitney bank loan and other business dealings he has with the player, Ray said.

Ray said he has no information to indicate that Demoff was involved in the real estate loan or other financial dealings involving Jones. Demoff said he first heard about the loan through a letter Ray sent to him firing him.
Demoff said he was largely responsible for negotiating Ekuban's 1999 contract but has had little contact with him in recent years.
(This is how most "big" agencies will handle your business, The "name" will recruit you & then it's "see ya")
Ekuban, in a November 2002 declaration, said he was fraudulently induced into participating in the loan by the concerted actions of Jones, Jerome Karam, who was the property's seller, and Whitney National Bank vice president David Ranostaj.


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