SBJ/December 3-9, 2012/Labor and Agents

49ers’ surprise starter not jumping on endorsement offers yet

Liz Mullen
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has received endorsement offers from three companies in the categories of electronics, real estate and beverage in the last few weeks, but his marketing agent, Shawn Smith of XAM Sports, is not taking him away from football to sign any deals. Not just yet.

“I know my guy Colin,” Smith said. “He doesn’t want to hear about anything right now. He just wants to get this job done.”

Would-be sponsors, meanwhile, have been drawn in by the Kaepernick-Alex Smith quarterback controversy, which erupted after Kaepernick, filling in for the injured Smith, led the 49ers to their recent wins over New Orleans and Chicago. The activity has kept Shawn Smith, who handles media as well as sponsor requests, pretty busy.
 
Colin Kaepernick, with 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, is keeping his mind on his quarterbacking.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
Smith’s husband, Scott Smith, and Jason Bernstein are NFL Players Association-certified agents who had recruited Kaepernick for representation when the 49ers took him in the second round of the 2011 draft. The Smiths and Bernstein founded Madison, Wis.-based XAM in 2004. The firm represents about 25 NFL players, including Houston linebacker Connor Barwin, Arizona wide receiver Andre Roberts, Pittsburgh linebacker Jason Worilds and Green Bay cornerback Casey Hayward.
 
Shawn Smith would not name the companies that made the endorsement offers to Kaepernick but said two were national deals and one was local. She added that she will bother Kaepernick with endorsements to sign if the right one comes along, and she is targeting apparel, accessory and headphone companies for the quarterback, who’s a fashion-conscious, music fanatic. He now has one deal, with Nike.

Not many NFL agents represent starting quarterbacks. Scott Smith said Kaepernick’s father told him that he heard from 100 agents who were looking to recruit the quarterback out of Nevada, where he played in college.

The 49ers can offer Kaepernick an extension after the 2013 season and he can become a free agent after the 2014 season.

> IF MANAGEMENT SIGNS TWO: IF Management, the New York-based firm that specializes in representing sports broadcasters, has signed former NBA All-Star and former National Basketball Players Association President Antonio Davis and has negotiated a deal for him to join ESPN as an NBA analyst. He’ll provide analysis on “SportsCenter,” “NBA Coast to Coast,” and “NBA Tonight,” among other duties.

IF also has signed PGA Tour player Arron Oberholser for representation in television work. Oberholser, who majored in broadcast journalism at San Jose State, has made numerous appearances on Golf Channel, including hosting “Morning Drive.”

Gideon Cohen, IF Management director of sports broadcasting, will represent both Davis and Oberholser. Davis was not represented previously for broadcast work. Oberholser is an active player and is represented by Lagardère Unlimited senior vice president David Yates.

> EARLY NFL DRAFT SIGNINGS: In some of the very early signings for representation in the NFL draft, Dow Lohnes sports and entertainment practice President Adisa Bakari has signed Howard University outside linebacker Keith Pough and Eastern Kentucky wide receiver Tyrone Goard.

Additionally, SportstarsDave Butz has signed Samford University defensive end Nick Williams.

Liz Mullen can be reached at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @SBJLizMullen.

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