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ESPN looking into Mel Kiper's relationship with Gary Wichard

The Sports Illustrated tell-all article on the sports agent industry has already created a problem for one of its subjects.

ESPN tells Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal that they are looking into allegations that agent Gary Wichard and Mel Kiper’s relationship is a little too cozy.

“We just learned of the story today and are looking into it,” ESPN’s statement read.

In the excellent article by George Dohrmonn, former sports agent Josh Luchs recalls a story where Wichard arranged for Kiper to call during a meeting in 2000 with Stanford defensive lineman Willie Howard. 

“Gary and I were talking to Willie in Gary’s office when Gary’s phone rang, and he put it on speakerphone,” Luchs recalls. “‘Viper,
how are you?’ Gary said. That’s what he called Mel, Viper or Vipe. ‘Viper, I’m sitting here with the best defensive lineman in college
football. Do you know who that is?’

‘You must be with Willie Howard,’ Mel said.”

This isn’t the first time there have been questions raised about Kiper’s relationships with Wichard.  PFT wrote an article back in April about Kiper’s ranking of Jimmy Clausen as his top prospect at quarterback.  Clausen was a Wichard client.

In an article for the Washington Post, Kiper admitted that he’s friends with many agents but denied any favoritism.

“I don’t shill for
anybody,”
Kiper said.

Kiper denied Luch’s version of the Howard story to SI, saying there wasn’t a prearranged call.  He says he has similar conversations with players for many agents.  Howard, on the other hand, said Kiper called, confirming Luch’s story.

Whether Kiper’s evaluations are unbiased or not, the story presents a major problem for the draft guru.  ESPN must consider whether they want one of their analysts helping agent friends land clients.

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56 Responses to “ESPN looking into Mel Kiper's relationship with Gary Wichard”
  1. kantnockdahustle89 says: Oct 12, 2010 4:25 PM

    Everyone knows that Kiper is a fraud by now.
    Everyone should also know that Mike Mayock is the real deal. Todd McShay and Kiper have nothing on Mayock.

  2. NoKoolaidCowboy says: Oct 12, 2010 4:29 PM

    Yeah, Mel. We know. Innocent until proven guilt.

  3. jj jones says: Oct 12, 2010 4:32 PM

    Good. Makes you wonder about the guys Kiper overvalues every April.
    This should be a lesson to everybody that follows the draft. Listen to Mike Mayock above all others.

  4. heyguru says: Oct 12, 2010 4:32 PM

    You’re never going to get a straight answer by speaking to the man. Talk to Mel’s hair. It’s the only way the truth will ever “gel”.

  5. Nate is Gay for Brady says: Oct 12, 2010 4:32 PM

    Kiper must be on the take for saying those glowing things about Clausen.
    CAUSE HE SUCKS!!

  6. jimmySee says: Oct 12, 2010 4:32 PM

    Well, since Kiper is always wrong in his analysis, if he said I were the best defensive end in the draft, I’d be worried, not pleased or impressed.

  7. Turk says: Oct 12, 2010 4:33 PM

    Kiper is interesting on draft day becasue he has a significant amount of historical data about a player’s career — from the first rounder to the sixth. Where he fails however is his analysis of how the player’s college statistics will translate into success at the NFL level. On the latter, his percentage of accuracy is not very good.

  8. jimmySee says: Oct 12, 2010 4:34 PM

    Actually, I take back my last comment — Mel Kiper is not always wrong.

  9. stevemcguigan says: Oct 12, 2010 4:35 PM

    Frankly, I’m more concerned about Mel Kiper’s shady dealings with the pomade and fiberpaste industry.

  10. mgmac says: Oct 12, 2010 4:36 PM

    kiper would sell his momma to make a buck. he doesn’t “shill” for anyone, yeah right and favre is retired

  11. Gregjennings85 says: Oct 12, 2010 4:37 PM

    And this is a surprise to you?
    The frist time I heard Kiper say that Clausen was his top-QB, I knew something smelled funny…because…well…Clausen SUCKS.

  12. Jagdbaer says: Oct 12, 2010 4:39 PM

    Next thing you know, that muskrat on top of Kiper’s head is actually a wig! I’d be surprised if anything comes of it actually: Mel is a shill and ESPN will keep him around because he’s everyone’s favorite punching bag during the draft.

  13. Agent Cooper says: Oct 12, 2010 4:42 PM

    Nobody pimped Jimmy Clausen as hard as Mel Kiper. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if that was because of his special relationship with this agent. I think my favorite part of the draft was watching Kiper’s face get redder and redder as Clausen slid out of the top 10, out of the 1st round and day 1 of the draft, and all the way to the middle of the 2nd round. By that time, it looked like Kiper’s head was about to explode. The fact that he doesn’t have nearly the amount of influence that he thinks he does must have been a tough pill for the blowhard to swallow.

  14. Rev. Dr. HollywoodWags says: Oct 12, 2010 4:43 PM

    They’re going after him because he is white.

  15. BRUTUS9448 says: Oct 12, 2010 4:54 PM

    if any teams GM listens to kiper to decide where and when to make their picks they should be fired. I could probably do a better job than kiper.

  16. No-Neck says: Oct 12, 2010 4:55 PM

    I don’t fault these draft analysts for missing on their picks. Highly paid scouts and GMs miss on picks. What I can’t stand is when they poo-poo a team’s draft because the pick differently from their “big boards” or becuase they didn’t fill every need on on their roster.
    It’s easy to sit in the booth with the smug looks on their faces and ramble off a bunch of stats that mean nothing in the NFL. I’d like to see how long these guys would last as GMs. They’d probably do as well as Matt Millen.

  17. HarrisonHits says: Oct 12, 2010 4:56 PM

    Someone at the worldwide joke of sportscasting making things up to benefit their career. What a shocker.

  18. Steve W. says: Oct 12, 2010 4:58 PM

    Mike Mayock is the only evaluator of college talent that I really trust. The man calls it like he sees it, and while no one is perfect, even his more specific observations and predictions prove correct more often than not. I also respect the fact that he doesn’t go in for excessive self-promotion. He lets his co-workers talk him up and focuses on doing his job.

  19. twinkletoes says: Oct 12, 2010 5:03 PM

    Just finished reading this article. It’s very compelling stuff. You just don’t read unfiltered content like this often.
    If the NFLPA, NCAA and big time college programs had their way, nearly all of this article would be redacted.
    Have a read before someone’s lawyer pressures SI into pulling this article down.

  20. gameday says: Oct 12, 2010 5:04 PM

    Rev. Dr. HollywoodWags says:
    October 12, 2010 4:43 PM
    They’re going after him because he is white.
    *********************************
    I agree 100%

  21. Professor Booty says: Oct 12, 2010 5:05 PM

    Am I the only one who thought this was regarding a homosexual relationship? Not that there’s anything wrong with that….

  22. rbais2 says: Oct 12, 2010 5:09 PM

    I will take that claim seriously when the four-letter network looks into its relationship with Brett Favre, Bill Parcells, Ben Roethlisberger, and Lebron James.
    In addition, Cris Carter’s relationship with Randy Moss.
    The last time this claim was proven true was when Michael Irvin was buddies with T.O..
    Where did that get Irvin?
    In the unemployment line.

  23. Gotcha says: Oct 12, 2010 5:15 PM

    Nothing can hurt Mel… Mainly because of the otherworldly thickness and durability of that skull-casing he calls hair.

  24. Wizahdry says: Oct 12, 2010 5:20 PM

    Nothing will come of this. I guarantee come the beginning of the year after the Super Bowl ol’ grease head will be on ESPN doing his draft gimmick all the way through April.

  25. mr_snrub says: Oct 12, 2010 5:24 PM

    I like how most people that rip Kiper do so simply because they 1. Mistakenly believe they could do a better job. 2. Are unbelievably jealous.
    Oh, and 3. Turn around and brag about the high draft grade Mel Kiper gave their teams.
    GMs miss all the time. It’s absurd to think Kiper or anyone else for that matter would be any different.
    And, less Kiper would only mean more McShay. [Shudder]

  26. tony325 says: Oct 12, 2010 5:26 PM

    I don’t understand the problem?? Kiper is an analyst for ESPN… I guess he could get kick backs for “pumping a guy” up, but com’on this seems a little ridiculous.
    Although, it would be a smart move. It’s the capitalist way.

  27. edgy1957 says: Oct 12, 2010 5:28 PM

    You Mayock ass kickers seem to forget that he’s AS wrong as the other two or are you going to ignore the fact that he was tonguing JaMarcus Russell’s ass worse than Kiper OR McWrong?

  28. bblogger says: Oct 12, 2010 5:28 PM

    Anyone expecting a kid with a six grade reading level to get a college degree in 4 years didn’t learn much in college. College basketball and football is a business. Who ok’d his acceptance into the school in the first place? Those kids should get as much money and gifts as they can before they have to go out into the real world and find out their only qualified for a job that in most cases only requires a high school diploma.

  29. funi says: Oct 12, 2010 5:44 PM

    Another ESPN busted! World wide leader is world wide loser!

  30. snnyjcbs says: Oct 12, 2010 5:45 PM

    Here is some News for you. Player Personnel people on Teams do not follow what these clowns at ESPN are saying. As a matter of fact from what I have seen they LAUGH at them. The only people that follow what they say are idiots.

  31. Florida727 says: Oct 12, 2010 5:48 PM

    Don’t know who Mayock is, but from the sounds of it on here, he’d be a welcome relieve to Kiper. With all due respect, I’ve always like McShay more than Kiper. At least he comes off as being realistic and unbiased.
    As far as the guy who said they’re after Kiper because he’s white… I hope you’re just joking. If not, then you’re just plain idiotic. Race doesn’t have to play a part in EVERYTHING you know. (I’m white.)

  32. dietrich43 says: Oct 12, 2010 6:01 PM

    I’m not sure that I believe everything in that article. And, it’s convenient to release it at a time with Wichard is already being investigated. Especially since Luchs has an axe to grind with him.
    If Kiper does favors, does it surprise anyone? He needs access to players, same as all the other talking heads on the four-letter network. So, they do favors, and they fluff up a guy like – well, a fluffer on a porn set.

  33. Infidel says: Oct 12, 2010 6:11 PM

    Anything to keep them from covering the slimeball wearing #4 ….

  34. AmishCowboy says: Oct 12, 2010 6:17 PM

    McShay’s a Dumbass Kiper Wannabe, I like Mel, but Mayock is the best

  35. shaggeez says: Oct 12, 2010 6:17 PM

    its probably already been said 20 times already, but who really cares if mel kiper sleeps with all the agents, quite frankly…..i can’t imagine that any team is going to go and spend millions of dollars on some player on the sole basis that mel kiper says he is the next (insert relevant hof player at respective position). if owners, gms and/or coaches are willing to throw that kind of money around without doing their own due diligence, then they probably won’t be in the industry for very long, and i have some nice oceanfront property in arizona they might be interested in.

  36. ForceEight says: Oct 12, 2010 6:36 PM

    Mayock sucks. Stop talking about him, you children. His record is probably worse than even McShay’s.
    Kiper has been doing this since McShay was sucking on his mother’s chest.
    Mayock, if you recall, was on ESPN too. And CBS, and ABC, and Fox, and NBC…he’s a joke.

  37. JerryD says: Oct 12, 2010 6:36 PM

    THEY said it!! lol ….
    Viper = Snake in the grass

  38. carp killah says: Oct 12, 2010 6:49 PM

    ESPN is dirty. No doubt about it.
    On this particular topic, they brought McShay in as a hedge against Kiper as they attempt to move him out.
    I don’t understand why the worldwide leader can’t dig up better talent than they have in the booth. Steve Young is about the only guy who knows what the hell he’s talking about, though he’s an arrogant jerk. I get so tired of listening to those guys argue over each other. Carter has got to go.

  39. Axlviking says: Oct 12, 2010 7:12 PM

    Listen, if this “cozy relationship” involved dirty text messages, for the love of God, please don’t post the link!

  40. MrONE50 says: Oct 12, 2010 7:37 PM

    Do we care about the care about the MLB draft? No! No one is shilling for those players and teams still get it wrong. We care about the first 5 picks of the NBA draft. They get it wrong too. Now the NFL on the other hand has out attention for two days come draft time. That’s a credit to ESPN and Mel Kiper. ESPN is not all bad.

  41. thegreenelantern says: Oct 12, 2010 7:40 PM

    ok…..
    this article came off to me as suggesting that mel kiper was in a gay relationship with someone..wow.

  42. flavordave says: Oct 12, 2010 7:58 PM

    Leave a white man alone. Come on now.

  43. HandsofSweed says: Oct 12, 2010 8:02 PM

    Uh, yeah. I cringed when I read the headline, too. I figured that if Kiper was coming out of the closet, there was no way I wasn’t going to read THAT article.

  44. Junior says: Oct 12, 2010 9:05 PM

    Should be a pretty quick investigation. At the end of the article, Willie Howard was on record as saying the call took place. Just look at who Mel had as his best defensive end that year and if it’s not Howard, you know he was aware of who was in the office. Either way, Kiper’s a fraud
    And come on edgy,
    edgy1957 says:
    October 12, 2010 5:28 PM
    You Mayock ass kickers seem to forget that he’s AS wrong as the other two or are you going to ignore the fact that he was tonguing JaMarcus Russell’s ass worse than Kiper OR McWrong?
    ————————————————
    Mayock said Russell had one of the best pro day’s he’d ever seen. But he also said he seriously questioned his desire to be a great quarterback and put in the work. So really, he hit the nail on the head.

  45. FinFan68 says: Oct 12, 2010 9:10 PM

    Dorhmonn’s article was outstanding…if even 25% of it is true (no reason to doubt any of it at all) then the Heismann folks should apologize to Reggie Bush and give him his trophy back

  46. Lex Luger says: Oct 12, 2010 9:16 PM

    To anyone saying Luchs is a liar, what did the dude have to gain from coming out and telling the truth?
    People said Jose Cansaco was lying too, and guess what, he was right about every single player he named.
    Or how about Brain Mcnamee?
    Just cause the revelation cames from a rat doesnt make it false.
    If there is money to be made, its probably being made (if you get what I mean). Water flows downhill. Kiper needs to go. I certainly wont take anything he says seriously anymore, not that I put much stock in his word before.
    The Clausen stuff ruined the whole first day of the draft for me, Kiper shut up on the second day, its was already over anyway since the money to be made is first round anyway.
    Anyone with common sense knew Clausen was in no way an elite prospect. Even if Kiper was in no way paid he still is clearly shown to either not be impartial, or completely incompetent. Even if no GM’s listen to Kiper, he still is clearly influencing who certain kids sign with, which is COMPLETLY unacceptable.

  47. Steve W. says: Oct 12, 2010 9:56 PM

    rbais2 says: October 12, 2010 5:09 PM
    I will take that claim seriously when the four-letter network looks into its relationship with Brett Favre, Bill Parcells, Ben Roethlisberger, and Lebron James.
    ______________________________
    The relationship is pretty obvious. For the network, it’s ratings. For their website, it’s clicks and comments. For the hosts on the network and radio its viewers/listeners and e-mails. I heard Colin Cowherd say more than once that he loves getting hate e-mails, as he get a bonus if his e-mail volume goes above a certain level. So, the relationship is business pure and simple. Talking and writing about these guys guarantees an increased number of viewers, listeners, clicks, and responses. That means a ton of advertising money for the company, and big bonuses for the on air talent and writers. No secret conspiracy here, just everyday business.

  48. Steve W. says: Oct 12, 2010 10:01 PM

    # edgy1957 says: October 12, 2010 5:28 PM
    You Mayock ass kickers seem to forget that he’s AS wrong as the other two or are you going to ignore the fact that he was tonguing JaMarcus Russell’s ass worse than Kiper OR McWrong?
    ______________________________
    I believe you meant kissers. As for me, I said in my post that he makes mistakes like all of them do. I simply trust the guy more, and find his analysis more substantial and accurate overall. As for JaMarcus, everyone was wrong on that one. Then again, while Mayock did rank him as his number one, he did qualify it by bringing up reports that questioned his accuracy and work ethic. So, his biggest mistake was in thinking that JaMarcus was willing to do the work it took to get better.

  49. edgy1957 says: Oct 12, 2010 10:24 PM

    Junior says:
    Mayock said Russell had one of the best pro day’s he’d ever seen. But he also said he seriously
    **************************
    Bull. He was all over him and he was the most effusive about him AND was the ONLY one of the three to rank him as his TOP prospect.

  50. edgy1957 says: Oct 12, 2010 10:31 PM

    # Steve W. says:
    # edgy1957 says: October 12, 2010 5:28 PM
    I believe you meant kissers. As for me, I said in my post that he makes mistakes like all of them do. I simply trust the guy more, and find his analysis more substantial and accurate overall. As for JaMarcus, everyone was wrong on that one. Then again, while Mayock did rank him as his number one, he did qualify it by bringing up reports that questioned his accuracy and work ethic. So, his biggest mistake was in thinking that JaMarcus was willing to do the work it took to get better.
    *******************
    You’re right – I mean kissers.
    He was all over him as THE number one prospect, the ONLY one to put him that high AND he wasn’t the only one that talked about his work ethic so where’s the edge and he’s been just as bad with other predictions. None of them are infallible but Mayock ranks between Kiper and WELL above McWrong, though I couldn’t believe how Kiper was so effusive about Clausen (No, you DOPES, Bradford WAS and still IS the most pro ready of the QBs in the draft). I can tell you that I laugh my ass off every week when I watch Notre Dame because there is a BIG difference between Haden and Mayock when it comes to knowledge (I admit a USC bias but that is trumped by an inferior analyst bias).

  51. Steve W. says: Oct 12, 2010 10:57 PM

    # ForceEight says: October 12, 2010 6:36 PM
    Mayock sucks. Stop talking about him, you children. His record is probably worse than even McShay’s.
    Kiper has been doing this since McShay was sucking on his mother’s chest.
    Mayock, if you recall, was on ESPN too. And CBS, and ABC, and Fox, and NBC…he’s a joke.
    _________________________________
    My, what an insightful comment. Mayock sucks, and his record is PROBABLY worse than that of McShay. What an impressive display of information and analysis. Anything to back that up? As for Mayock having worked all of those places, did you ever think it’s because he’s respected by a lot of people? I’ll admit, I never knew about him when he worked at those places, but watching him on NFL Network, I’ve developed quite a lot of respect for both his skills and his demeanor. Oh, and it’s not very mature to go around calling people children because you don’t like the same person they do. Grow up.

  52. cja1985 says: Oct 12, 2010 11:22 PM

    WHO CARES ABOUT MEL KIPER? He is an espn analyst for entertainment purposes. I seriously hope that GM’s wouldn’t be listening to Mel Kiper at all. They pay thousands of dollars to scouts to determine which players they will draft. It is ridiculous that this is such a big issue for everybody. I can see why ESPN is pissed of because his credability is lost, but I don’t think Mel Kiper is actually effecting the draft.

  53. shaunypoo says: Oct 13, 2010 6:56 AM

    No-Neck says:
    October 12, 2010 4:55 PM
    I don’t fault these draft analysts for missing on their picks. Highly paid scouts and GMs miss on picks. What I can’t stand is when they poo-poo a team’s draft because the pick differently from their “big boards” or because they didn’t fill every need on on their roster.
    It’s easy to sit in the booth with the smug looks on their faces and ramble off a bunch of stats that mean nothing in the NFL. I’d like to see how long these guys would last as GMs. They’d probably do as well as Matt Millen.
    ————————————————-
    This.

  54. fossilhippie says: Oct 13, 2010 12:48 PM

    Kuiper denied being a shill. Maybe, maybe not telling the truth.
    ESPN in general is a shill, especially for the Miami Heat. No other NBA team has multiple reporters assigned to it 24/7 or it’s own “department” aka Heat Index (or Hate index if you will). It will help them if the Heat wins. How long before espn finds another Tim Donaghy to make sure calls go the Heat’s way at the end of games?

  55. Ace says: Oct 13, 2010 6:20 PM

    You guys are missing that one drunk gm took Kipers advice, and now he has singlehandedley ruined the Panthers season by playing that loser that got Charlie Weiss fired. How much do you think the drunk gm got in kickbacks from Kiper/Wichard? You are correct that Marty Hurney should be fired, and it should have happed the fist time he traded away our first rounder for a 2nd round pick. What rigged ass crap the NFL has become under Adolf Goodell.

  56. sportsamigo says: Dec 24, 2010 7:40 AM

    Kiper’s a goof and no I don’t want his job, really, pouring over stats and combine reports, formulating opinions about guys who have a better chance of being in a mailroom than an end zone.

    It wouldn’t surprise me at all that this blowfish was taking money to advance and promote clients of friends – it’s not out of the realm of possibilities – a player rises 20 spots and makes an additional $$$ amount of money for the agent. Yeah, we’ve never heard about anything like that.

    Only problem here is that Clausen is weak. I could never understand what everyone else saw in him. Every time I tuned into ND football when Clausen was there, they were 3rd and 17 or kicking field goals. Whatever. It just serves to illustrate the “pimp factor” in Kiper’s game.

    Hell, even McShay doesn’t like him. And McShay’s doesn’t seem like a supremely likeable guy, so that’s saying something.

    As for the Panthers, Trent Dilfer’s available…

    $^) sportsamigo

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