Drew Rosenhaus, one of the most powerful agents in the NFL, is at the center of a brewing controversy. Yahoo’s tag team of Jason Cole and Rand Getlin are on the case, and this story on Rosenhaus, from last week, was interesting:
Rosenhaus Sports vice president Danny Martoe accuses brothers Drew and Jason Rosenhaus of breach of contract and fraud …
Although a fee dispute is the crux of the problem between Martoe and the Rosenhauses, a number of allegations in the 36-page filing call the brothers’ business practices into question. One allegation in particular, if true, could subject the brothers to unspecified discipline from the NFLPA.
According to the filing, “Rosenhaus Sports” suggested to Martoe that if he introduced agency clients “like Dez Bryant and others” to a financial advisor at SunTrust bank, “SunTrust would give Rosenhaus Sports a bigger loan and a better [loan] rate,” which would result in Martoe getting “paid faster.” Such an agreement could violate NFLPA policies.
Compelling stuff, no? The story barely registered on the web. It didn’t even warrant a mention in Pro Football Talk’s rumor mill, which is ground zero on the web for anyone who follows the NFL.
Monday, Cole and Getlin struck again. This was significantly more juicy about Rosenhaus:
David Wells, a longtime adviser to Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, has accused high-profile agent Drew Rosenhaus of offering him a prohibited cash payment and trip to Miami in an effort to sign Bryant, Yahoo! Sports has learned.
The offers, through a series of text messages prior to the 2010 NFL draft, are apparent violations of the NFL Players Association’s regulations on agents.
During an hour-long interview with Yahoo! Sports, Rosenhaus answered “no comment” to 11 questions regarding his relationship with Bryant and/or Wells. Rosenhaus, who claims to represent more than 140 NFL players, cited the confidential nature of any agent-player relationship.
Breach of contract, a 36-page filing, text messages … this one got some pickup. Outlets like Sports Illustrated.com, the Tribune, NFL.com and the Morning News all had blurbs. I assumed that Mike Florio, who is a lawyer and runs PFT, would jump at the impending litigation. Rosenhaus sat on the phone with Yahoo for an entire hour, but didn’t deny anything?
And before you say, “hey, these are just allegations from people who might have an ax to grind!” Well, let’s not forget, PFT’s Rumor Mill had this headline last year: “Brandon Meriweather accused of shooting two people” based on very sketchy details*. Meriweather was later cleared. (That’s a different kind of allegation, than the Rosenhaus situation, obviously.)
This is not to pick on PFT. Elite NFL reporters like SI’s Peter King and ESPN’s Chris Mortensen have yet to chime in. The Associated Press has not written about Rosenhaus.
Is this a case of Rosenhaus having friends in the right places? Or the media avoiding what might be an inside football pissing contest between agents? What if Martoe and Wells pitched this story to those outlets, but everyone else passed, and Cole, who might not have a cozy relationship with Rosenhaus, jumped at it?
I spoke with Florio today about the topic.
“A mainstream NFL audience doesn’t care about pissing matches between agents over money,” he said. “If there’s a physical altercation between agents or if an agent is arrested or if an agent runs down the street drunk or naked or both, then it registers on the radar screen. The overriding goal is to write what I think people want to read, not what I think a handful of agents or anyone else wants me to write.”
Let’s see what develops if Yahoo continues unloading on Rosenhaus.
* Yes, we had a post on Meriweather.