August 15, 2005
John Molori's Media Blitz 8/15
BY: John Molori
- Rotten Rosenhaus
Agent: “Rosenhaus is embarrassing to the business.”
He has become as omnipresent as pollution, and just slightly more offensive. Amidst Terrell Owens ongoing contract squabbles with the Philadelphia Eagles, Drew Rosenhaus, Owens’ agent, has become a media magnet, appearing on any show that can tolerate his braggadocio and BS.
One prominent sports agent, who asked to remain nameless, says, “I find a lot of his stuff offensive. Rosenhaus is embarrassing to the business.” Indeed, Rosenhaus is the caricature of the smarmy, money-grubbing sports agent popularized by Jay Mohr’s character in the film “Jerry Maguire” and Robert Wuhl’s “Arliss” in the HBO series of the same name.
Steve Freyer is a Boston based sports agent who has represented high-profile media and sports clients for 25 years. Among Freyer’s clients are Ray Bourque, Butch Stearns, Dale Arnold and Dan Roche. Regarding Rosenhaus, he states, “Drew has been able to pick up veteran players from other noteworthy agents. He represents the lack of ethics in our business, constantly hitting on other people's clients.”
Last week, on ESPN2’s “Quite Frankly,” host Stephen A. Smith asked Rosenhaus if he steals clients from other agents. Rosenhaus answered with an emphatic no. Fellow guest and agent Leigh Steinberg laughed at the response. That same night, as a guest on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” Rosenhaus basically told Letterman that his style is to get better deals for clients who currently have agents. In short, Rosenhaus is a liar.
Says Freyer, “There are teams that will avoid players who have agents like Rosenhaus. He is has fallen prey to the disease that befalls many agents. He wants to be the star.”
As an example, Freyer points to the late Bob Woolf, a renowned Boston-based sports agent, best known for representing Celtics legend Larry Bird. He states, “Woolf was the king of self-promotion, but he was not truly Larry Bird ’s agent. The late Larry Fleisher negotiated Bird’s last contract with the Celtics.”
The key to being a good agent, according to Freyer, is getting the deal done. He states, “I’ve had aggressive negotiations, but my business is the player’s business. My job is to take the abuse, to be a buffer between the player and the team. If I become the focus of the hostility, I’m not doing my job.”
The aforementioned Steinberg is not beyond reproach. “Leigh walks an ethical tightrope because lawyers are not supposed to solicit clients,” says Freyer, who is not an attorney. “As a lawyer, he is bound by the ethics of the Bar Association. Attorneys are taught to negotiate on a combative basis. This is not the best way to close a gap between a player and a team.”
According to Freyer, several years ago, current WEEI personality and former Boston Globe cartoonist Larry Johnson portrayed the typical sports agent as a rat. “I was offended and left a message for Larry,” says Freyer. “ What bothers me more is that he didn't have the courage to return my call.”
In the Owens case, player, agent and team are all culpable. “I’m surprised that the Eagles would ever have wanted to deal with Owens in the first place,” says Freyer. “Teams always think that they can straighten out a bad guy. Owens was eager to get out of San Francisco, got a seven-year deal in Philadelphia and was happy as a clam. Now, that deal is not good. (Eagles coach) Andy Reid really has to worry about team cohesion at this point.”
Holding out remains a strategy in contract negotiations. Says Freyer, “If a player is truly underpaid, it can be good at times. I never use that, but I might have a player show up late to camp just to make a statement. Richard Seymour is a good example. He was underpaid and stated his case the right way.”
Freyer tells the story of client Paul Sorrento, who, in 1992, was playing behind Kent Hrbek with the Minnesota Twins. “I got on my knees and begged Twins GM Andy MacPhail to trade Paul so that he could play full time. A couple of days later, he was dealt to Cleveland. Shortly thereafter, Hrbek dislocated his shoulder.
“MacPhail told me, ‘See this is what I get for being a good guy.’ If I had whined to the media like Rosenhaus, the trade never would have been made.”
Rosenhaus has said that he wants to seek a trade for Owens. Says Freyer, “The Eagles have to give Rosenhaus permission to do that. He would then go to a team and see if they are interested in Owens. They could discuss the contract, but not the specific players involved in the trade.”
Freyer says that there were maybe 25 or 30 sports agents in hockey when he started in 1980. There are now over 400 registered agents, about the same number as in the NFL. He is not happy with the direction that men like Rosenhaus have taken his field. “I would not recommend to my sons that they go into this business. There are too many weasels.”
Tonight at 6:00 p.m., “ESPN Hollywood” premieres on ESPN2. The program, hosted by Thea Andrews and Mario Lopez, will debut with scheduled features on Tom Brady, Andy Roddick and the Oakland Raiders Cheerleaders
Previously, Andrews was a co-host on ESPN2’s “Cold Pizza.” The bright and talented Andrews was, in truth, the best of that morning program’s hosts. She and co-host Kit Hoover were essentially replaced by Dana Jacobson, Woody Paige and Skip Bayless. Says Andrews, “We all knew from the start that changes were going to be made. It was not a shock and it turned out for the best.”
Andrews describes her goals for "ESPN Hollywood,” stating, “This show is the intersection between sports and entertainment. There is a mutual admiration between athletes and actors. You don’t expect to see guys like Donovan McNabb or Dwyane Wade get star struck, but they do.”
"ESPN Hollywood" will feature stories, headlines and glimpses of athletes in their homes and off-field activities. Andrews is excited about sharing hosting duties with Lopez, best known as Slater from “Saved by the Bell” and for his portrayal of Greg Louganis in a TV movie about the famed diver.
“Mario is awesome,” says Andrews, who has also made cameo appearances in films. “I was shocked to see what a huge sports fanatic he is.”
The affable and attractive Andrews achieved fame as a host and reporter in Canada before landing the gig on “Cold Pizza.” Her style is welcoming and energetic, perfect for the conglomeration of sports and show biz. “ESPN does not want to rely simply on sports content,” she states. “It’s kind of like MTV. They branched out from exclusively music videos to original programming. This show is an extension of that.”
Bet You Didn’t Know…
This week, Media Blitz debuts a new periodic feature, “Bet you didn’t know.” It is a listing of interesting tidbits and notes from various media sources. Hence, bet you didn’t know…
That, according to a fellow agent, the ever-self promoting Drew Rosenhaus actually called ESPN on July 19 to make sure they knew that he successfully administered CPR to 4 year-old Maurice Hill who had essentially drowned at the Grand Floridian Hotel in Orlando. Rosenhaus saved the boy’s life while in Orlando for an appearance at the ESPN Club.
That ESPN Radio Boston AM 890 and AM 1400 has hired former Pats linebacker and current Patriots front office executive Andre Tippett to do a Patriots pregame show on Monday nights beginning in early September. The station will also have a daily live, local show from 4:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. beginning after Labor Day. The program’s host will be announced in about a week.
That The Lowell Sun offered $5 million more than the eventual buyers of The Eagle-Tribune newspaper. The Tribune was recently purchased by Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. out of Alabama. Word is that the Rogers family, venerated and respected owners of the paper, preferred a non-local buyer.
That NESN receives $2.40 per subscriber from cable companies that carry the regional network. That’s about $8 million to $10 million per month according to industry insiders.
That, according to a station source, the Red Sox wanted to give UPN reporter Dan Roche his 2004 Championship ring on the air, but UPN bosses preferred that it be given privately.
That Larry Johnson’s tongue-in-cheek response to incorrect rumors that he and Craig Mustard were suspended from their WEEI weekend show last week was, “We’re not relevant enough to be suspended.”
John Molori's columns are published in The Providence Journal, The Boston Metro, Patriots Football Weekly, Boston Sports Review, New England Hockey Journal, New England Ringside Magazine, TheRemyReport.com, PatsFans.com, BostonSportsReview.com, BostonSportsMedia.com, ColdHardFootballFacts.com and MethuenOnline.com. Email John at JOMOL3@aol.com.
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