Thursday, July 22, 2010

Spring is... well it's gone, but this will make sense in a minute.

Okey dokey, I think I've got all my childish laughs from earlier out of my system, so down to business. The wait is almost over. This Friday, July 23rd, training camp begins. Well for the Browns it does. And if you really want to be picky, only for their rookies. But it's the beginning. It's like those first signs of spring letting you know that warm weather is on its way (or for me, the first regular season games indicating that my preferred cold weather is coming). It's so close now you can almost reach out and grab it. Dallas will be next into camp on Saturday. All teams will be in action by August 1st. Meanwhile, agents are coming under increased scrutiny as a series of investigations take place regarding possible acceptance of gifts by pro prospects when they were in college. Coming after the whole Reggie Bush thing which has seen USC wipe Bush from all their records and acknowledgments, it's Maurkice Pouncey of the Steelers who is drawing the most attention, after an allegation that he accepted a $100,000 gift prior to the Sugar Bowl last season. College coaches, led by former Dolphins Head Coach Nick Saban are calling on the NFL to clamp down on the agents. The NFL has in turn pointed to the NFLPA and highlighted that monitoring agents is their responsibility, and the NFLPA have agreed that agents caught doing wrong need to be punished, to the extent of possible criminal charges. None of which of course addresses the fact that players are the ones who should be the focus. It starts with education. Players need to understand that however well intentioned the original rule was of forcing all players to take an agent, it has now reached ridiculous proportions where agents can hear the cash register kerching-ing (?) at a hundred paces. A first round pick is worth quite the sum and if you can nab one of the top ten you can sleep comfortably for quite a while on the resulting pay packet. A $100,000 gift is nothing when the long term rewards will far exceed that sum. Players need to understand all the tricks that agents will try to get them on board and they need to be alerted to the fact that agents are in it for one thing. Cash. Cold, hard, cash. They care so much about getting you the best deal solely because it means their percentage of commission is worth all the more. It's a dog eat dog business and the players should be made aware of just what they're buying; as any St. Bernard owner will tell you, innocent little puppies can quickly become more than you bargained for. The second part should be penalties for players, whether financial or playing time wise for accepting gifts. I'm sure there are huge numbers of cases where players have been offered sums of cash or other gifts, but I guess either a lot of them go unnoticed or are simply refused (probably a mixture of both). Players who make the right choice should be comforted not just by their sound moral choice, but also by the sight of those who made the wrong choice getting their due punishment. I feel this is a good place to end it, otherwise a rant will ensue. Have a great day everyone.

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