Would A Black Sports Agent Instead Of Rosenhaus Have Better Served Owens?

By Gregory Moore
Updated: November 14, 2005

SAN ANTONIO – After all that Drew Rosenhaus has done (or not done) for Terrell Owens, I have to wonder if maybe it is time for Owens to start seriously considering going with an agent that would better understand him as an individual and not as just a client.

Yes I’m thinking that maybe it is time for T.O. to return back to 1996 and just become Terrell Owens again and maybe that can be accomplished with the representation of a Black agent like Eugene Park or Carl Poston.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that while I’m quite sure that 99% of the agents out there would have never allowed Owens to go down the path of destruction that he was on, I am 100% sure that if Owens had a Black agent representing him from the beginning, he may still be playing for the San Francisco 49ers.

Why would I believe such a premise when there are very good Caucasian agents out there who represent many Black athletes in this social climate? Because I am looking at the history of Owens’ life and how maybe when it comes to dealing with ‘troubled’ individuals like Owens, maybe dealing with someone who truly understands your background makes life a little easier.

There are special clients out there and Owens just falls under this umbrella. Let’s be frank Drew Rosenhaus didn’t do one damn thing for Owens except getting his butt fired from a football team. If Rosenhaus is going to even attempt to paint Owens as the one who masterminded this rouse, then he will lose every one of his clients faster than a thunderstorm forms in Southern California.

Am I saying that Rosenhaus is a bad agent? Only in this one instance. I don’t see any benefit he brought to Owens during this time. Where was the advice of telling his client to keep quiet and letting him work quietly behind the scenes? Where was a statement of “We are not going to discuss T.O.’s contract in the media as we want to work very closely with Jeffrey Lurie and the Eagles.

We want to keep this in the family and when the time is right, we will make a statement.” Where were such negotiation tactics during that time? They weren’t present and if Rosenhaus is trying to say that he was just following his client’s instructions, then I think everyone in the sports world will have a different outlook on what job he did for this talented player.

It’s an agent’s job to go out and do the best job representing his client in negotiations with a team. How hard can that be? Well in all honesty it isn’t as easy as one may think. Negotiations on the fine print take time and it something that a skilled negotiator must be able to do on a consistent basis.

The fact that Rosenhaus doesn’t even make money right now with his client shows many of us just how much of a snake in the grass he is at this present time. The reason why Rosenhaus was trying so desperately to get Owens out of this deal was because all money is going to Owens’ previous representative and that just doesn’t sit well with him. But for him to not get his client to be quiet and cooperate with his employer? Now that’s just mind boggling in itself.

So how would someone like Parker or Aaron Goodwin help Owens had they had the opportunity? I think just from the outset many of these Black agents deal with kids who come from ‘similar’ backgrounds like Owens if not worse. Owens isn’t the first Black athlete to have a jacked up child hood with a storyline that seems to fit the script of a sequel to “Jason’s Lyric”.

What he needed was someone who could sit him down before even representing him and telling him that maybe he has a good life after all. Considering how short a NFL player’s career is, maybe it would have taken a Goodwin or Parker to get through Owens’ head that he needs to ride the wave of his athletic prowess now and try to max out that current contract. Sure the incentive bonuses may seem to be a little outrageous but consider what could have been had Owens simply just did what wanted to do in the first place; play with Donovan McNabb.

Imagine the records that could have been set by those two players in this day and age. Forget about Marvin Harrison and Peyton Manning. The tandem that would be setting some serious records for the next five years would have been Owens and McNabb.

Yet that will never happen and it comes at a time when agents on the whole are thought of as just parasites in sports. Maybe that’s a wrong view to such a good profession but even the agents that are out there will tell you that because they have a few idiots in their profession, they have to work hard to earn the trust of each client and to make sure that individually they are not perceived to be so egotistical like Rosenhaus.

That may be especially true for Black agents these days because as society looks at a player like Owens, the sure stereotype of “there he goes, another Black man not thinking he’s getting paid what he is worth” thought, comment or suggestion. Could a Black agent have stopped this train wreck that unfolded in front of us? Maybe. Maybe not. But I do honestly believe that maybe if Owens had someone who could have talked to him in a manner that he would have understood, he may not have been the total jackass that he has come to portray in real life.

In that regard I think Goodwin, Parker, Poston or somebody who is a member of the Black Sports Agents Association could have done something that would have been more tangible than what we have seen from Rosenhaus. Somebody from needed to be a ‘father figure’ for Owens and in my own opinion that would have been somebody from the BSAA or the like. Of course we may never know what any agent besides Rosenhaus would have done because Owens is now damaged goods and that is the ultimate tragedy.