SBJ/February 11 - 17, 2002/Labor Agents

Tank fires back: Black claims players he defrauded owe him money

Former sports agent William “Tank” Black, convicted last month of defrauding NFL player clients out of about $14 million, has filed claims against some of those same players for money he contends is owed to him for negotiating their player contracts.

Black has asked an NFL Players Association arbitrator to award him about $202,000 for contracts he negotiated for seven NFL players between 1997 and 1999, said Richard Berthelsen, NFLPA general counsel.

"My opinion is he doesn't deserve a penny," Berthelsen said of Black's claims. "If anything, the money should be going the other direction."

Two of those seven players, Jacquez Green and Germane Crowell, and the father of a third, Reidel Anthony, testified against Black in his trial in U.S. District Court in Gainesville, Fla., last month.

Clarence Anthony testified that he was surprised when Black called him around Christmas to ask him for money he said was owed to the agent for negotiating his son's contract, according to a report in The Orlando Sentinel. Clarence Anthony testified that Black defrauded his son out of $1 million.

The other players against whom Black made claims are Al Wilson, Antuan Edwards, Kevin Faulk and Troy Edwards. Some of the agents for the players were not aware that the claims had been made.

"You've got to be kidding me," said Raymond Brothers, agent for Faulk, when told about the claim.

Under NFLPA rules, agents cannot bring a civil suit against clients for fees owed until after going through the NFLPA-appointed arbitrator.

Black was decertified by the union in 1999 after NFLPA officials investigated allegations that he was putting players' money into fraudulent investments.

Berthelsen noted that there is precedent for an NFLPA arbritrator to deny a claim if the agent did not act in the players' best interest. He said that precedent may likely be applied in this case.

The Tank Black case "is by far the worst victimization of players we have seen in our history, both for the amounts lost by the players and the fraud and deception of the agent involved," Berthelsen said. 

 SFX SIGNS CROUCH, REED: SFX Football signed LSU wide receiver Josh Reed and Heisman Trophy winner and Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch for representation. Reed is represented by Ben Dogra. Crouch is represented by Jim Steiner and Dogra.

 SEXTON ADDS THREE: Agent Jimmy Sexton has signed three prospective NFL draft picks, including highly regarded University of Mississippi offensive lineman Terrence Metcalf. Sexton also signed Tulane quarterback Patrick Ramsey and Tennessee running back Travis Stephens.

 FOUR FOR SEGAL: Agent Joel Segal has signed Florida defensive end Alex Brown, Michigan State running back T.J. Duckett, LSU quarterback Rohan Davey and Ohio State running back Jonathan Wells for representation in the 2002 NFL draft.

Segal's practice was formerly owned by Magnum Sports & Entertainment but is now independent in a deal worked out late last year. His company is Worldwide Football Inc.

 IF SIGNS SHULMAN, ESPN DEAL: Dan Shulman, former television voice of the Toronto Blue Jays, has signed a multiyear deal with ESPN to announce Major League Baseball and men's college basketball games, in a deal negotiated by his new agents at IF Management.

New York-based IF, which represents about 60 sports broadcasters, signed Shulman about a month ago. Steve Herz is Shulman's primary agent.

 GLOBAL HIRES KENAH: Global Athletics & Marketing, a Boston-based agency specializing in representing track and field and marathon athletes, has hired Rich Kenah as director of marketing. Kenah, who won two World Championship bronze medals in the 800 meters, was formerly a marketing manager at SFX Basketball.

Global Athletes, founded in 1993 with multiple Boston Marathon winner Cosmos Ndeti as its first client, represents about 50 athletes worldwide. It is owned by Boston lawyer Mark Wetmore.

Contact Liz Mullen with agent and labor news at lmullen@amcity.com.

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