The contract dispute between the Chargers and receiver Vincent Jackson has expanded. Now immersed in the morass is the San Diego Union-Tribune and its online portal, SignOnSanDiego.com.
The publications have received a letter demanding a retraction of a recent report alleging that Jackson is receiving monetary support from his agents, Neil Schwartz and Jonathan Feinsod, during his holdout. The letter was sent by attorney Howard Weitzman of Kinsella, Weitzman, Iser, Kump, & Aldisert in Santa Monica. Weitzman is an experienced and very high-powered Hollywood lawyer, whose clients have included John
DeLorean, Michael Jackson, Marlon Brando, Morgan Freeman, Magic
Johnson, O. J. Simpson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ivan
Reitman, and Sean Combs.
“League and sources in the agent community have confirmed that his
ability to forego a salary is due to the financial backing of Schwartz
and Feinsod, with the understanding the agents will be paid back after
Jackson receives the mega contract they are seeking,” Kevin Acee of the Union-Tribune reported on August 24.
Weitzman explained to PFT by phone that the article “inferred Vincent was not capable of managing his finances and that Neil and Jonathan are giving him financial backing so that he won’t negotiate and sign with the Chargers.”
Weitzman also called the assertion “false.”
As to Jackson, Weitzman said, “He has managed his finances well. This could cause some G.M.’s down the road to look at him differently.”
As to Schwartz and Feinsod, Weitzman explained that the alleged falsehood “infers that these agents have told him, ‘Forget about it, we’ll back you. You don’t have to worry about making money. We’ll get you more down the road.’”
Though the agents already represent Jackson and thus aren’t prohibited by NFLPA regulations from giving or loaning money to Jackson, the report also potentially creates, in our view, a sense that Schwartz and Feinsod fall into the Nick Saban “pimp” club, paying anyone and everyone now if it means making more money later.
Weitzman has demanded only a retraction, and he has requested a response with a specific time frame. If the retraction is not made, legal action possibly will be pursued.
In our assessment, the letter from Weitzman could be aimed at addressing the perception (accurate or otherwise) that the Union-Tribune has sided with the Chargers as to the Jackson holdout. Then again, threatening to sue the publication may not be the best way to get the Union-Tribune to see Jackson’s side of the broader story.