SBD/Issue 100/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Troy Vincent's Involvement In Web Site Bring New Questions

Helfand Says Vincent Was Never Involved
With ProAthletesOnly.com Web Site
As the NFLPA Exec committee is set to meet later this week to make the final cut of candidates who will stand for election to succeed the late Gene Upshaw as the next Exec Dir, new questions are being raised about presumed frontrunner Troy Vincent. The N.Y. Post reported yesterday that a small, unnamed group of former NFL players thought Vincent's business interests, including his ties to Web site ProAthletesOnly.com, could hurt his NFLPA candidacy. ProAthletesOnly.com Founder Scott Helfand was arrested last month, accused of violating his probation in a grand theft case in which he pleaded guilty to taking $150,000 from former NFLer Oliver Gibson. Attempts to reach Vincent for comment were unsuccessful, and his exact role in the Web site is unclear. A press release issued in March '07 stated that Vincent had joined the Web site's parent company as a partner and board member, but another athlete who invested in the site said Vincent had not been part of the company for about a year. Former MLBer Junior Spivey said that Helfand persuaded him to invest in the site in '07 by telling him that Vincent and NFL Cardinals RB Edgerrin James were involved in the venture, but that Vincent "stepped away" from ProAthletesOnly.com in early '08. Spivey added that it would be unfair if Vincent's involvement in the site damaged his NFLPA candidacy. Spivey said none of the athletes who invested or lent their names to the Web site knew about Helfand's arrest in the grand theft case involving Gibson, or that he had a $115,000 lien placed against him by Devin Bush, another former NFLer.

VINCENT LISTED AS SITE CO-OWNER IN BIO: Although Spivey said Vincent has separated from the site, Vincent's biography on the Web site Eltekon.com for a financial advisory firm he co-owns said as late as last month that Vincent "owns all or part of several companies, including ... Pro-Athletes Only." The bio was changed about the time that Helfand was arrested. Attempts to reach Helfand were also unsuccessful yesterday. But in an interview with SportsBusiness Journal last month, Helfand said that Vincent was never involved in the Web site or the parent company, despite press releases and Vincent's own bios to the contrary. Helfand said that no athletes had invested their personal funds in the venture. Spivey, however, said that he invested more than $10,000 of his personal funds in the venture and that another baseball player Spivey would not identify had invested more. Multiple football sources said at least one NFL player had invested personal funds in the venture.

ELTEKON REFUTES POST ARTICLE: Eltekon today released a statement responding to the allegations in yesterday's N.Y. Post article and saying the company stands behind Vincent. The statement read in part, "We fully support Mr. Vincent in his leadership role with Eltekon and are proud to be associated with him."

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