The NFLPA’s recent effort to shine a light on the deficiencies with doctors who are bought and paid for by teams to treat players, while appropriate, also opens the door for similar scrutiny of the union.
Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports has strolled through that door, reporting that the NFLPA certified in 2012 an agent who at the time was under indictment for fraud.
Everette Scott was convicted last week of defrauding investors of more than $5 million. Scott, per Getlin, was under indictment at the time the union re-certified agents following the 2011 lockout and NFLPA decertification.
While the quality of the union’s efforts to protect players against unscrupulous agents is an important issue, this looks and feels another example of the peddling of negative information by folks who have an agenda. Getlin surely didn’t trip over these facts on his own; someone who has an axe to grind with Scott or the NFLPA surely was shopping it in order to stir up trouble.
When the NFLPA shut itself down in 2011 for strategic reasons, the regulation of agents ended. Then, when the lockout ended and the union returned, all of the agents who had been certified became certified again. Absent evidence that Scott defrauded players or that Scott at least was actually representing players during the time he was under indictment, does it really matter that the bulk process of flipping the switch back to “on” for hundreds of agents who needed to be recertified missed the fact that one of the agents had in the interim been indicted?
In a perfect world, the union would have spotted the information and refused to recertify Scott. Without evidence that player interests were actually compromised, the fact that Scott slipped through the cracks was a small price to pay for the leverage that allowed the players to do a better deal than they would have gotten if they had remained unionized in the face of a lockout.
Significant questions linger regarding whether the quality of the deal the players did, especially in light of a salary cap that has been flat for three seasons. For someone with an axe to grind against the union, that would be a far more relevant subject on which to stir up criticism and concern. But, of course, that would require something slightly meatier than a superficial game of “gotcha” arising from a connect-the-dots timeline that ignores the broader circumstances.