Wednesday, April 12, 2006

BREAKING NEWS: CAA's Tom Condon May Have Cheated In Drawing Matt Leinart Away From Leigh Steinberg -- The Only Question Is What Will The NFLPA Do?

I have it from a confidential source that NFL Player Agent Tom Condon (pictured at left), formerly of IMG and now with Creative Artists Agency, may have violated key rules established by the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) in an effort to draw USC Quarterback Matt Leinart away from Sports Agent Leigh Steinberg (photo below left).

NFLPA regulations on the conduct of agents -- referred to as contract advisors -- are strict. The areas of NFLPA regulations that apply to what I wil call "The Leinart Case" are:

From The NFLPA Website:

Section 3 (B) B. Prohibited Conduct
Contract Advisors are prohibited from:

1. Representing any player in individual contract negotiations with any Club unless he/she (i) is an NFLPA Certified Contract Advisor; (ii) has signed the Standard Representation Agreement with such player; and (iii) has filed a copy of the Standard Representation Agreement with the NFLPA along with any other contract(s) or agreement(s) between the player and the Contract Advisor;

2. Providing or offering money or any other thing of value to any player or prospective player to induce or encourage that player to utilize his/her services;

3. Providing or offering money or any other thing of value to a member of the player's or prospective player's family or any other person for the purpose of inducing or encouraging that person to recommend the services of the Contract Advisor;
Providing materially false or misleading information to any player or prospective player in the context of recruiting the player as a client or in the course of representing that player.

4. Representing or suggesting to any player or prospective player that his/her NFLPA Certification is an endorsement or recommendation by the NFLPA of the Contract Advisor or the Contract Advisor's qualifications or services;

But it's Section 3 (B) (Prohibited Conduct), Paragraph 21 that Condon is in true violation of. It states:

Section 3 (B) 21. (a) Initiating any communication, directly or indirectly, with a player who has entered into a Standard Representation Agreement with another Contract Advisor and such Standard Representation Agreement is on file with the NFLPA if the communication concerns a matter relating to the:
(i) Player's current Contract Advisor;
(ii) Player's current Standard Representation Agreement;
(iii) Player's contract status with any NFL Club(s); or
(iv) Services to be provided by prospective Contract Advisor either through a Standard Representation Agreement or otherwise.
(b) If a player, already a party to a Standard Representation Agreement, initiates communication with a Contract Advisor relating to any of the subject matters listed in Section 3(B)(21)(a) the Contract Advisor may continue communications with the Player regarding any of those matters.
(c) Section 3(B)(21) shall not apply to any player who has less than sixty (60) days remaining before his NFL Player Contract expires, and he has not yet signed a new Standard Representation Agreement with a Contract Advisor within the sixty (60) day period.
(d) Section 3(B)(21) shall not prohibit a Contract Advisor from sending a player written materials which may be reasonably interpreted as advertising directed at players in general and not targeted at a specific player.

Published reports from several sources confirm what my source knows: that Condon violated "Paragraph 21" in his pursuit of Matt Leinart. For example, had this information, which could not be directly linked to because of the design of its site. I copied it:

POSTED 9:24 p.m. EDT; UPDATED 10:42 p.m. EDT, April 11, 2006


We've heard from yet another source that USC quarterback Matt Leinart "definitely" is hiring Tom Condon of Creative Artists Agency to replace Leigh Steinberg, whom Leinart recently has terminated.

The talk in league circles is that Condon and CAA have told Leinart that they will persuade either the Jets or the Titans to swing a deal with the Texans to make Leinart the No. 1 overall selection in the draft. If that's true, the Condon potentially has run afoul of the NFLPA regulations that impose a five-day waiting period before a new agent can swoop in.

But don't assume that the NFLPA will take any action, given that Condon also represents NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw.

We haven't confirmed whether Chuck Price will be involved in the ongoing representation of Leinart, but we've previously heard that Price will still be a part of the team, working directly with Condon.

The timing of the conversations between Leinart and Condon is such that Condon was tampering with Steinberg's client, Matt Leinart.

My source said, "They (Condon working for CAA) probably used the old IMG model: (Where they may have told Leinart) We'll take a reduced fee and a bit more up front, and by the way, we'll get your Dad a job."

If this is 100 percent true, and it appears to be approaching 80 percent truth, Condon's also in violation of NFLPA Section 3 (B), Paragraph 3, which reads:

3. Providing or offering money or any other thing of value to a member of the player's or prospective player's family or any other person for the purpose of inducing or encouraging that person to recommend the services of the Contract Advisor;
Providing materially false or misleading information to any player or prospective player in the context of recruiting the player as a client or in the course of representing that player.

The question is what will the NFLPA do? My well-placed source reports that not only is Tom Condon NFLPA Executive Director Gene Upshaw's agent, but NFLPA attorney Jeffrey Kessler's son works for Condon. (Kessler's pictured at right.)

Given this, it's very possible Condon could have communicated to Leinart that he's the representative of the NFLPA's Executive Director and therefore has special authorization to contact Leinart in so forward a way as he's done. Now, I'm piling on; there's already too much information. But if that were the case, Condon's stepped over the bounds of Section 3 (B), Paragraph 4, which reads:

4. Representing or suggesting to any player or prospective player that his/her NFLPA Certification is an endorsement or recommendation by the NFLPA of the Contract Advisor or the Contract Advisor's qualifications or services;

Stay tuned. It's going to get worse before it gets better.

NBA Commissioner David Stern Huge Dem Giver - Over $700,000!

In stark contrast to NFL Commissioner Tagliabue, NBA Commissioner David Stern is a large giver to Democrats.

Just look at his numbers:

$2,000 Republican
$762,780* Democrat
$17,000 special interest
total: $781,780

He's given to KWEIS MFUME, I (D) Senate - MD, the DNC, and others over his life.

Anyone who believes Stern's a conservative because of the NBA Dress Code matter should see this information.

NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue Contributes Mostly To Republican's -- But Not By Much

The best sports commissioner since Pete Rozelle's got a balanced history of political giving. According to records, his money breaks down like this:

12,250 Republican
$8,001 Democrat
$7,500 special interest
total: $27,751

His most recent give was to Tennessee Senator (R) Lamar Alexander. (Remember to click on the title of this post to see the full record. )

Christie Brinkley's A Major Liberal! She Even Gave Money To A PAC To Impeach President Bush!

Of the $89K she's contributed over her life, the Supermodel has given $76K of it to Dems and of that she's contributed money to "IMPEACHPAC" -- an organization that is working to elect a congress to impeach President Bush.

Raider Owner Al Davis Gave Mostly To Republican Causes - But Only $19,000 Total; $11,000 to The GOP

I had to look up Oakland Raiders Owner Al Davis. This is what I found:

$11,000 Republican
$4,000 Democrat
$4,000 special interest
total: $19,000

Most of that -- in fact -- was when he was in LA. He also gave to something called SYMMS PAC.

Alec Baldwin's Put Over $100,000 into The Dems!

Alec Baldwin, the favored whipping boy of "South Park" and "Team America" creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, has poured over $100,000 into Democrats.

Here's his breakdown:

$102,602 Democrat
$500 Green
$1,000 Independent
$5,000 special interest
total: $109,102

Hugh Hefner's A Big Dem Contributor, Too!

Playboy Founder Hugh Hefner's a huge and consistent giver to the Democratic Party. He recently gave $5,000 to the DNC this year. He's also contributed to the campaigns of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Jerry Brown.

Here's his breakdown...

$102,100 Democrat
$1,000 Independent
$14,500 special interest
total: $117,600

Click on the title of this post to see what he's done.

Tom Cruise' Poltical Contributions? He Like Senator Barbara Boxer - So Do I

According to this Federal Campaign Contribution Report I found, Tom Cruise has given $1,000 to Senator Barbara Boxer, $10,000 to Senator Hilary Clinton, $500 to Senator John Kerry, and others. All Dems.

Airbus A-380 - Think It's 100 Percent Foreign Made? Think Again

Some of it's parts are made or finished in America. Like the landing gear and wing pistons. The wing pistons were made by Southwest United Industries of Oklahoma.

Apprentice 5 Ratings Very Low - Worst In Show's History

I saw this in a recent article on Trump's idea to have viewers pick the Apprentice. The reason for the low number is simple: Jack Baeur. "24" is simply too hot to be beat by The Apprentice on Mondays.

NBC made a terrible mistake. Now, they're taking a beating in the ratings on Thursdays and Mondays, with no relief in site.

...Unless they move The Apprentice back to Thursday's ASAP.

Viewers Hired to Choose "Apprentice"

by Gina Serpe - E! Online
Mar 30, 2006, 11:50 AM PT

Donald Trump is taking a page from Simon Cowell's playbook.

The real estate mogul/reality TV star has announced a change in plans over how he'll choose his next Apprentice, allowing viewers to phone in votes on who they believe should be selected as the next mini-Trump.

"I'm very anxious to see who the fans choose for their favorite finalist--their decision could have a big effect on my ultimate decision," the Donald said in a statement.

But then again, it might not.

Unlike American Idol or other audience-dictated reality shows, viewers who cast their vote for one of The Apprentice's burgeoning businesspeople may not get the payoff they're expecting. The contestant who racks up the most votes will not automatically win the coveted apprenticeship--Trump will simply be made aware of the tally before making his final decision.

"Over the past four seasons of The Apprentice, Donald Trump has used the final episode to hire candidates with advice only from George and Carolyn," Mark Burnett, the show's creator and exec producer said. "This year we thought it would be interesting to discover what America has to say about the candidates, incorporating our fans and viewers as virtual judges.

"While Trump will still be the final arbiter of who he hires, America's feedback is certain to have an impact on his decision."

And, NBC hopes, his ratings.

Despite Trump's routine boasting of his show's ratings prowess, The Apprentice has dipped to an all-time low viewership, averaging just 9.9 million viewers since the fifth cycle kicked off last month. Last fall, The Apprentice 4 drew in a slightly higher 10.7 million viewers, down about 4 million from the previous installment. (With Martha Stewart's incarnation is long gone as a scapegoat, we're still waiting to see what excuse Trump will offer now to explain away his dismal Nielsen numbers.)

Viewers will be able to cast their vote for one of the final two candidates following the penultimate episode of the season via phone or by going online. As in years past, Trump will announce the winner in the live finale, during which he will also be presented with the results of the viewer vote.

The finale airs in June.

Cheney Gets Booed; Bush Poll Numbers Go Lower - What Do They Expect?

The bad news continues to fly in. The Vice President is booed at a baseball game -- again. President Bush has terrible and falling poll numbers.

It's clear to me what the problem is. They're too right-of-center to be in touch with the mood of America. 9-11 skewed all that's political and it's going to take three years to flush out the elected officials from office who don't see the economic and social problems we're facing in America and focus on them rather than the Mid East.

Ty Law Considering Seattle Seahawks - Seahawks Looking At Ty Law - Seattle PI

Veteran Ty Law says Hawks offer chance to win


KIRKLAND -- Ty Law has been to the pinnacle repeatedly, only to find the view obscured by what should have been.

During his 11-year NFL career, Law has been on four Super Bowl teams, voted to the Pro Bowl five times and led the league in interceptions twice -- including last season, his first with the New York Jets after playing 10 years with the New England Patriots.

It's not enough. The free-agent cornerback desires more, and can see himself achieving it as a member of the Seahawks.

"What's there left for me to do? There's a whole lot left to do," Law said Monday during a telephone interview from an airport in Florida, where he was catching a plane to New York City to visit his 6-year-old daughter, Tya.

"I've made five Pro Bowls. I should have made nine, because I feel I got ripped off for four others," he added. "The last time I went to the Super Bowl (after the 2004 season with the Patriots), I feel like I got shorted because I didn't get to play in that game.

"So I'm still trying to play catch-up. That's just what I do with my own psyche, to want to improve."

Law visited the Seahawks last week, and liked what he saw and heard.

After he departed, coach Mike Holmgren raised what seem to be the two biggest factors in signing Law: What does he have left mentally as well as physically; and how much will it cost to have him playing opposite Marcus Trufant in 2006 as the Seahawks defend their NFC championship?

Law chuckled when informed that Holmgren had said, "The great ones don't come cheap."

"Mike's been around," Law said. "He knows how it goes. As great a coach as he is, he doesn't come cheap, either."
As for being 32 and seemingly having nothing left to prove -- or play for -- it was as if Law had been waiting for someone to broach that subject.

"I want to play football," he said. "I love to compete. I'm confident in my abilities. I can be a big assist to any team. This 'old man' has something left in his tank."

More significantly, Law's actions speak louder than his words.

During the offseason, he leaves his material trappings in Florida and moves into a corporate apartment in St. Louis to work out with renowned track and field coach Bob Kersee -- whose wife, Jackie Joyner Kersee, won five medals in three Olympics in the heptathlon and long jump.

"Actually, the decision to work with Bob came from being overlooked," Law said. "I figured it was something that could take me to the next level."

It did. His first offseason with Kersee in 1998 led to Law's first Pro Bowl selection that season.

Law and his agent also are talking with the Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns and Patriots. But Law likes his chances of adding to his legacy with the Seahawks.

"Although I did have a season no one thought I would have last year, it just didn't satisfy me at all," he said of intercepting 10 passes and being voted to the Pro Bowl for the 4-12 Jets.

"I'm used to winning. So the objective is to go somewhere with a chance to compete and an opportunity to win. I really, really want an opportunity to win again, and I definitely think that could come in Seattle."