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Insights: Sports

As long as the money is big, sports agents are inevitable - and some will go bad
Dave Anderson
From the Print Edition:
The Cuba Issue, May/Jun 01

(continued from page 2)

And never forget the case of Alan Eagleson, the hockey power broker who was slicker than the ice. While he was the executive director of the National Hockey League Players Association, he also was the agent for about 150 players, a promoter of international tournaments, a corporate lawyer and a Canadian political figure. No matter what he did at any hour, it was almost by definition a conflict of interest with whatever he did an hour earlier or an hour later, but he never conceded that.

"I make no secret of the fact that I wear several different hats," Eagleson once said, "and when I put a new one on, the old one goes back in the closet."

But all of Eagleson's hats eventually went to jail with him. Charged with skimming players' pension funds and disability payments, he pleaded guilty in 1998 to three counts of mail fraud (and was fined $700,000) in a Boston court, then pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud in Toronto. He did six months in a Canadian prison.

So the next time a sports agent is indicted, don't be surprised. All that money out there is just too much temptation for the scum to ignore.

 

Dave Anderson is a Pulitzer Award-winning sports columnist for The New York Times.


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