TrueHoop's Henry Abbott (my go-to guy for NBA info) thinks in my previous post that I "let BDA more or less entirely off the hook." That was certainly not my intention. In fact, I wrote: "Guillory, Mayo, BDA and USC may be guilty as sin, but they all deserve an opportunity to state their case to the NCAA and whatever other authorities may have an interest in this case." Our judicial process is supposed to provide individuals with the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. No question, Duffy and Andrews have serious allegations before them:
- Was there a real or implied relationship between BDA and Guillory?
- Was there a verbal (of course, this is hard to prove) or actual signed (highly doubtful, but not impossible) agreement between BDA and OJ?
- Are there any California agent laws that may have been broken? (See below for further analysis by agent regulation expert Joshua Golka)
My defense of BDA is based on two factors:
1) I am friends with Duffy and Andrews, something I disclosed the very first time I wrote on this matter. I am still quite capable of criticizing friends. I believe they are both honorable agents, but of course I don't know with absolute certainty.
2) Since this story first aired on ESPN's Outside the Lines, the rush to judgment has been swift and fierce. ESPN's Kelly Naqi did a good job telling the story through Johnson's eyes. I didn't come away from Naqi's investigative report thinking this would be an open and shut case against BDA.
This whole situation has generated great discussion -- and I anticipate there will ultimately be significant fallout. I also hope this will bring about positive regulatory (doubtful) and structural change (more optimistic, especially if there is compromise between the NCAA and the NBA that would provide certain elite players with viable, constructive options).
Of course, I think the best outcome that could -- and hopefully should -- come from all this is that elite athletes (and their families) become more savvy, sophisticated and skeptical about ALL people involved in their lives and that they demand complete disclosure.
I am in San Fransisco attending the Sports Lawyers Association Conference. Joshua Golka, an expert on state agent regulation, is also here. I asked him to comment on possible legal implications regarding BDA and its principals:
If BDA, its agents or employees are involved: There are certainly possible violations of California's athlete agent act, the Miller-Ayala Athlete Agent Act. When I last checked, Duffy was registered in CA as an agent, but I'm not sure about BDA as an entity or Andrews. Failure to register would be a violation. The major violation would be a violation of the prohibition against the direct or indirect provision of anything of value. There may also be violations of notice requirements. In addition to the potential for criminal (misdemeanor) penalties, a court could suspend or revoke the privilege of someone convicted to conduct the business of an agent. The athlete, school, league, conference, association, etc. may bring a civil suit for damages. There could also be punitive damages, court costs and attorney fees. Finally, if Andrews or Duffy is an attorney licensed in CA, they may also be subject to discipline by the state bar.
Read Golka's "scary" explanation of California's Miller-Ayala Agent Act.