SBJ/November 17 - 23, 2003/Labor Agents

NFLPA decertifies Hodari, issues complaints against 2

The NFL Players Association's disciplinary committee has decertified one player agent and issued complaints against two others.

The disciplinary committee decertified Ajili Hodari, finding that the agent took his entire fee out of a signing bonus paid to a former client, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad, and also finding that Hodari offered an Ohio State football player a payment to sign with him.

Hodari has the right to appeal to an arbitrator, said Richard Berthelsen, NFLPA general counsel.

Hodari said he will appeal the decision. "These charges are without merit and I will be exonerated," he said.

Hodari took his entire fee for a five-year deal he negotiated for Muhammad out of the player's signing bonus, Berthelsen said. Under NFLPA rules, agents are allowed to bill for their fee — which is usually a percentage of the player's contract — as the player earns it, Berthelsen said.

Muhammad signed a five-year deal with the Panthers in 2000 reported to be worth $22.5 million, including a $6.5 million signing bonus that Hodari negotiated, according to press reports. Muhammad is now represented by agent Joel Segal.

The committee issued complaints against agent Brian Overstreet, finding that he interfered with another agent's client, and against agent Dwight Moss, based on a finding that Moss took $2,500 from the father of a football player, in violation of the union's agent regulations.

Overstreet and Moss have the right to answer the complaints issued against them before the committee decides what, if any, disciplinary action should be taken. The NFLPA's disciplinary action against agents ranges from a letter of reprimand to a fine, suspension or decertification.

Attempts to reach Overstreet and Moss were unsuccessful.

Hodari is listed on the NFLPA Web site as representing three NFL players.

The NFLPA disciplinary committee, headed by NFLPA President Trace Armstrong, found that Overstreet interfered with agent Frank Bauer's client, Tennessee Titans defensive end Anthony Dunn, Berthelsen said. Agents complain regularly that other agents are interfering with their clients, but such cases are difficult to prove.

However, in this case, Dunn provided the disciplinary committee with an affidavit regarding the incident, Berthelsen said.

In the case of agent Moss, the disciplinary committee found that he took $2,500 from the father of a football player, telling the father that was part of a $5,000 fee charged to get the young man a spot on an NFL club roster, Berthelsen said.

"He didn't get him a job and he did not pay the money back," Berthelsen said.

Moss was not listed on the union's Web site as representing any NFL players.

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