This is why you leave amateurism to the professionals.

Bruce Feldman has a fascinating piece up about why memorabilia dealers may have it in for Johnny Football.  It seems they’re not real happy about the Manziels trying to cut themselves in for some of the sweet action.

“When his family filed to patent his name, ‘Johnny Football,’ all of us dealers, and I’m talking like 500 of us, had items on eBay related to Johnny Manziel,” Rudolph told Wednesday. “They weren’t necessarily signed by him. I had Heisman programs from where he won the Heisman. So on that listing it would say, ‘Johnny Manziel, Johnny Football, Texas A&M Heisman Program.’ eBay swiped across the country and took all of those items down. All of ’em. And, in addition to that, they banned everyone who had done it for two weeks. No prior warning or nothing.

“I had 400 items up. I had six or eight related to Manziel and they pulled all of ’em. I called [eBay]. I said, ‘I’ve never had any trouble on eBay whatsoever.’ They said, ‘This is a legal thing and you violated a legal code so you’re suspended for two weeks.’ For me, I’m small time. That was an irritating thing because for two weeks, I couldn’t sell anything. I am quite sure for people whose livelihood are this business, that was crippling.

“If there’s anybody who has an ax to grind, pick any of those people.”

Meanwhile, there are schools like Ohio State and South Carolina scrambling to declare that their star players whose autographs are being sold in bulk on eBay are as pure as the driven snow.  Of course, back in the real world…

Rudolph says his company has paid many pro athletes for the signing of items, but says when it comes to college athletes, “it gets a little sketchy. … we’ve had arrangements to sign memorabilia for us as soon as their bowl game ends. We have many bowl games down here in Florida. It may be two hours after the game ends, we’re gonna meet at this hotel room. We’ll buy their used game jerseys, their cleats. They’ll sign stuff for us. That’s a gray area because the moment they’re signing and getting their money, their eligibility is done, but when the arrangement is made before their eligibility. … that’s what I can say. I have never had a paid signing with an eligible player, but I know that is going on all the time. All the time.”

It’s probably just a bunch third-sting offensive tackles looking for a little extra jack before stardom doing that.

The sleaze is palpable.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, WOAH! It's Johnny Football!

44 responses to “This is why you leave amateurism to the professionals.

  1. Cousin Eddie

    I see the NCAA cutting out the middle man in the name of the players and starting to broker these signatures. The NCAA will have the players sign and the NCAA will market the items “for the players” to reduce any chance of inappropriate dealings. The NCAA will then distribute the funds back to the players after removing a “small fee.” If they can do that they can claim the players are still amateurs and will Emert gets his cut.

    • Cojones

      Hell, they do that already. And the fee ain’t small. It’s called the “Can You Help a Fellow Out with His Own Money” Fund.

  2. RocketDawg

    Listening to Mike and Mike this morning and I heard an interesting point brought up about the whole Johnny Douchebag situation: He obviously doesn’t enjoy college anymore (or is it just College Station?), he wants to profit off of his name and likeness, and he wants to hang out with Drake and other celebrities. But the NFL says “No sir, you can’t come play in our league until you are 3 years removed from HS” (a rule I support btw). Could it be that Johnny F knows EXACTLY what he is doing and it is trying to get himself declared ineligible so he can do endorsements and go work with a QB guru for the next 6-8 months and prepare for the draft? It sounds crazy, but I wouldn’t put anything past him or his parents (“advisers”). Sounds like something Mitch Mustain’s Mom would have recommended.

    • What fresh hell is this?

      I had the same thought. Why risk a drop in the draft due to an injury or a poor year on the field?

      It’s a chickenshit move on Manziel’s part but half the teams in the NFL would take him just to put asses in seats.

    • Hackerdog

      I think it’s too clever by half. If he didn’t want to play, he could just announce that he’s skipping this year. Playing football is still voluntary.

      If he did want to get caught, why not make sure by accepting money on videotape? As it is, most people still don’t have confidence that the NCAA can nail him on any of this.

      But besides any of that, I can’t see any NFL team spending a high draft pick on a kid that hasn’t played football in over a year. Especially if he only played one year of college ball.

    • AmericusDawg

      As someone stated in an earlier post, this is looking a lot like the Maurice Clarett saga … except Johnny Football is either smarter than we give him credit for or he “thinks” he is smarter than the average bear. Maybe he thinks “it’s better to burn out than to fade away” (h/t to Mr. Neil Young). While I don’t wish he’s a complete failure, I despise his type of arrogant athletes (or people in general) that act like they can do whatever they want, whenever they want … and feel that they shouldn’t be held responsible for their actions.

  3. Dog in Fla

    “When I saw that video of him at Texas frat party video, the minute I saw it, coming from where I’m coming from, I thought, ‘Christ, I would’ve loved to have been there,’ ” Rudolph says.

    On the other hand, who hasn’t heard someone yell, “Get the **** out!” at a frat party

  4. Go Dawgs!

    Even as a kid, I’ve never given a rip about autographs. I don’t get the culture. If someone’s into autographed memorabilia, cool. Whatever. But unless it’s something like a jersey Herschel wore against Notre Dame, I don’t really need it. And even then, I’d be just as happy without the signature.

    All this article has done is reinforce the idea that autograph hawking is a really weird and really sketchy pursuit. And I can promise I’ll never buy anything autographed off of eBay, because I need a shower after reading that scumbag’s interview. I want players to get money. I want players to be able to sell their signature or their jersey or whatever they want to sell. I don’t care about the doomsday scenario where boosters use it as a front to pay players. If the NCAA is so worried about it, they need to pass a significant stipend. All I know is that this guy seems sleazy, stalking players around the country asking for signatures and then hawking them. No thanks, buddy.

    • AlphaDawg

      The only autograph I have is a baseball signed by Ted Williams, he was at a baseball card show when I was a kid, it cost me $5. While I know it’s real, I have no proof, so there no value with tons of fake autographs. Bottomline, its a sketchy ass business.

  5. Normaltown Mike

    Does this mean that Greg McGarity et al need to trademark “thUGA”?

  6. Bryant Denny

    Seems to me like Johnny Football’s entourage is too smart by half.

    They were fired up about folks illegally benefiting from the brand, then little Johnny and his posse *allegedly* start doing business with them.

    • Darrron Rovelll

      Actually it was the other way around … Manziel and friends were signing & it looks like taking money under the table. Then his family and advisors realized that a heck of a lot of people were profiting from the “Johnny Football” name which they had designs on TM. If they allow too many people to use it before the apply for the TM designation, they could have lost it or someone else could have acquired the mark.

      Now that more and more is coming out about this whole practice, I think I would tell every college athlete to quit signing for anyone at anytime. Don’t sign for the school, don’t sign for friends, don’t sign for charity, don’t sign for fans, don’t sign for dealers – just don’t sign.

      Of course, one other way to get the NCAA to test the rules is to have every single team member for every time sign, and someone like Mark Cuban pay them $100 each. Wonder if the NCAA would suspend all of them?

      • Bryant Denny

        I agree with your “just say no” idea. Abstinence related to signing can certainly improve market value. 🙂

        I’m not so much for the social justice part of this argument…but I do like your Mark Cuban idea. What about this – day after the 2014 BCS game, every returning player takes $100 from an “agent?” Everybody could do it at the same time and video it. Then email the video to the NCAA and say “we’re done.” I’m guessing some sort of fix to the system would arrive before spring practice. (Not that I agree there needs to be a fix.)

  7. DawgPhan

    I have several footballs and helmets signed by the team that I have collected over the years by heading to picture day and collecting them myself. Buying an autograph has no appeal to me, but meeting a player, having them sign something and proudly displaying that piece is something that has lots of appeal to me.

    • PatinDC

      This. My favorite autograph is my “pawtograph” of UGA III. It hangs proudly on my wall. No funds were exchanged therefore no chance of messing up his amateur status. VBG

  8. Bryant Denny

    As a high school student back in the 80s, I latched onto the idea that college players should be allowed to retain agents (or legal counsel or whatever you want to call it).

    I don’t have a problem with that agent funneling cash to player – any amounts and out in the open.

    The main argument against this is agents could control players and that creates all sorts of problems – discipline, game fixing, etc.

    Players that were worthy could get their money – and their subsequent 1099 or W-2 – and someone else could foot the bill. If these players were overpaid, failed out of school, busted their knee or whatever, then the agent would lose his investment. I’d like to think at some point the market would prevail and agents would refrain from ridiculous investments (i.e. after they had been burned a few times).

    • DawgPhan

      Kinda like how the financial markets “should” have prevented bankers from making and losing huge bets…that didnt work in case you have been living under a rock for the last decade.

      if they setup a system for agents to buy high school kids it will ruin the lives of 1000’s of people every year. I will let you guess which lives get ruined…..hint it wont be the agents, coaches, or schools.

      • Bryant Denny

        I guess it depends on which crisis to which you are referring as to what my reply should be, but one could argue that bad public policy was the gasoline for most of the fires.🙂

        I’m not sure how thousands of lives would be harmed by legalizing agents: has it done so in the NFL? Would it anymore so than allowing payment for autographs?

        Players get paid. Players get representation. Players then must be successful as pros so that agents gets their money back.

        • DawgPhan

          You could argue it, but you would be wrong…that rarely stops people though.

          The is a world of difference between an NFL player and a high school student.

          • Bryant Denny

            No arguing federal housing policy played a big part in the housing crisis.

            Hundred of players fresh out of high school and third world countries turn pro every year in baseball. That system seems to work ok. Basketball players can turn pro after a year in school. I could be wrong, but I don’t see those systems ruining 1000s of lives a year.

            Also, I agree with your point above about collecting autographs now. Why did we even do it? To prove we met someone famous? Seems a bit weird now.

            Have a good one,


    • Not ’til you can cross this line: “The video does not show Manziel accepting cash…”.

      • Cojones

        Of course not. The Walmart cards were neatly boxed for delivery. It would have taken too long to hand them one-at-the-time.

      • Macallanlover

        I find that whole argument wrong, we find people guilty of far greater crimes (and yes this constitutes a “crime” NCAA style). Requiring video proof before making a judgment is crippling, imo. Anyone got video of Sandusky in the State Penn shower?

        What if JM didn’t accept the cash himself, maybe had it paid to his “friend” who accompanies him. Then when he is in the casino and running dry, he hits his friend up for a :loan” of $7500? The guy isn’t an agent, isn’t family, and no one knows what agreement was reached between the friend and the scummy autograph guy,,,,,maybe Li’l Johnny wasn’t even present in the room during that negotiation. Can’t prove anything but it has a bad smell. If it walks like a duck……

        This egomaniac is a black eye on the game, shouldn’t someone protect it?

  9. Biggus Rickus

    I had something of an epiphany on the matter of player compensation earlier. The only reason that players are marketable is because they play for a college. If you took the same exact players and put them in an NFL farm system where they played each other for 3 or 4 years nobody would care about their autographs or merchandise. They’d be like minor league baseball players. So really, how much of a cut do they deserve, and would the tens of thousands of dollars, maybe hundreds of thousands in come cases, they receive in the form of tuition, room, board, facilities, etc. not be sufficient?

    • Cojones

      Good point. Certainly do think it is a player-school activity and they should never have sold the rights to NCAA to market our jerseys.

  10. Dboy

    Ive always thought that the NCAA should allow college athletes to make money off certain aspects of their likeness. They just have to put it in a trust fund and cant access it until their eligibility is up or a minimum of 4 years. Obviously, many details would need to be worked out, and It would have to be regulated: you cant accept millions of dollars from agents and shoe companies, for example. But if you want to sign some autographs sure, and EA sports should pay you for being an amateur on the cover of NCAA 2014 etc. I think this would allow you to still be an amateur , receive appropriate compensation for your likeness and only delay receipt of the money until your graduation or 4 years after matriculation. This rule change would make household name athletes (like manziel), who certainly are not fully compensated for the millions of dollars they generate for the university and related business endeavors, feel like they are not getting ripped off. The 3rd string fullback is probably happy with the scholarship, but Jonny Football may feel like the millions of dollars of earning potential he currently has is being stripped from him. And who knows if his work in college will translate into big money at the NFL level. It certainly isn’t a sure thing for a 5’11 QB w/ one good college season.

    Seems fair?

  11. Cojones

    Think the money should be shared with the team (after college)because it’s a team sport. Further, QBs and RBs should always have a lineman beside them in interviews. After games, Gurley or Marshall could be interviewed about big plays and the lineman could chime in what he did to help and name whoever opened the hole(s) to spring him. Same for passes that click: “Yeah, I saw Clowney creeping up and got leverage on his inside shoulder that kept him away long enough for Aaron to heave that long one.”. Talk about fostering team spirit…..and it would secure their reason for sharing in the wealth. Yeah, it may be a romantic idea, but it sure is friggin’ doable.

    • Cojones

      If the players in the star positions get all the moola pretty soon we have 300lb RBs and no linemen available in college. They are just oversized, not stupid.

    • So the NCAA should abandon non-payment to student-athletes in the name of amateurism and adopt a model of forced revenue sharing for student-athletes in order to avoid offending the delicate fee-fees of offensive linemen. In what country with anti-trust laws is this “friggin’ doable”?

      • Cojones

        The point was that this “revenue sharing” with the NCAA, the school and agents doesn’t include anything for the guys that make them stars. If the “stars get the money while the rest of the team watches, pretty soon there is no team, just a big “I” or two. Why wouldn’t the lenemen suddenly want to be FBs headed for RB status and some of that money that you say runs every motivation in CFB? In short, what makes you so sure that dissention won’t sweep through a team and fast if certain players get rewarded past others?

        • Which revenue are you referring to – the likeness money the stars would generate, or the money the schools receive from TV, tickets, etc.?

          And this idea of yours that a 300 lb lineman who runs a 4.9 40 is suddenly going to turn himself into a running back because of potential endorsements… you’re not serious about that, are you?

          • Cojones

            It was more toward hyping the question, but 4.9 for the 40 would certainly not rule him out. How many sub 5.0s have you seen O linemen run? Besides, it doesn’t stop them for Fullback and if I recall correctly didn’t we just run some practice reps with our FB totin’ the mail? In my day the FB was the primary ball carrier for “3 yds and a cloud of dust” .
            Back then we had a FB by the name of Johnson(?) who made SI’s
            front cover (or lead full-page photo of an article on UGA )showing his chin inches off the ground (head-on photo) and blood on the football. He was important in Dooley’s early teams. So the concept isn’t out of the question. If Kentucky can have a 300 lb QB (it seemed so) with Jared, why would FBs not be utilized as RBs? Even the “Fridge” carried it for a score in the Bear’s NFL Championship.

            If you don’t believe that paying “star” players will create team dissention then you and I will disagree until Estes Kefauver’s statement to Kruschev rings true.

            • Again, there are players who have been paid for signing pro contracts in other sports on college teams right now. Manziel comes from money, unlike most of his teammates, and evidently isn’t afraid to flaunt it. You think his TAMU teammates don’t want him to play with them?

              To say that somebody should have to share what he’s paid for his likeness to be exploited because otherwise it will make others around him unhappy is… well, un-American. Who operates like that, anyway?

    • 69Dawg

      Any QB or RB with an ounce of sense takes care of the big boys up front. Heck Aaron buys them ice cream after every win. The way to the big uglies heart is though their stomachs.