A sports agent should always have your best interests at heart. However, agents sometimes get overworked and neglect some clients, or they are inexperienced and not good at their jobs. If you are unhappy with your sports agent, you can talk over the problem. However, if you are sure that you want to fire your agent, then you should identify the reasons for firing him or her and then schedule a meeting.
Part 1 Part 1 of 2:Firing Your Sports Agent Download Article
Hire a lawyer. The agreements between athletes and sports agents are often very complicated and even abusive. A lawyer will help review your contract and determine the best way to proceed. Your attorney will make sure you are terminating your contract in an acceptable manner. Be sure to hire a lawyer that is not connected to your agent or any of his or her other clients. In addition, if you have a manager as well as an agent, make sure you can continue your relationship with your manager. Often, managers and agents have close ties. If you fire one, you may have to fire the other.
- To hire a lawyer, talk with other athletes about their experiences and recommendations. If you cannot get a personal referral, visit your state bar website. The state bar will run a lawyer referral service, which usually involves answering a few questions about your legal problem. After you answer the questions, you will receive contact information for qualified attorneys in your area.
Review your contract. Your contract with your agent will set out the reasons the agreement can be terminated. This clause is usually termed the “termination clause.” Termination clauses take many forms and each one is different. Review your termination clause to determine how the relationship can be ended. Some examples of termination clauses include:
- “You agree and understand that the relationship is at-will.” In this type of clause, any party can be fired at any time. No notice or reason is necessary.
- “You agree that either party may terminate this agreement with 90 days notice. If the termination is for cause, either party may terminate the agreement without notice.” With this clause, you must notify your agent 90 days before you fire them, unless you are firing them “for cause.” For cause is usually defined within the contract or is defined by law. Cause often includes abuse, fraud, or theft.
Write down your reasons for firing your agent. You need to tell your agent why you are firing him or her. Accordingly, you should take some time to sit down and write out the reasons you want to end the relationship.
- Perhaps you think the agent has not gotten you enough money. Or your agent made a huge mistake which cost you a spot on a team. Whatever the reason, you should write it down.
Schedule a meeting with your agent. You might be tempted to fire your agent with an email because you want to avoid talking face-to-face. However, you should fire your agent in the same manner that you communicated with your agent. For example, if you and your agent communicated mostly over the phone, then you should fire your agent face-to-face or in a phone call.
- Also schedule a meeting if you have had a long relationship with your agent. You shouldn’t end a long business relationship by sending an email or tweet. That would reflect poorly on you.
- Call your agent and schedule a meeting. State that you want to discuss something important.
Stay calm. Your agent might be surprised or even upset that you are ending the relationship. Tempers can flare, but it is important that you try to remain calm. By calming yourself, you can calm your agent. Remember the following:
- Try to sit comfortably, using an open-body style. Don’t cross your arms or legs, or angle your body away from your agent.
- Whenever your agent speaks, make eye contact and nod to show that you are listening. Don’t interrupt.
- You can summarize what your agent has said. This is important, because people want to be heard. If your agent is angry, say, “I know you are angry. But this is best for me.”
- However, make sure not to say, “I know what you’re feeling” or “You’ll be happy to be rid of me.” Let your agent be angry without pretending to know what he or she is feeling.
Say that you are firing the agent. It is crucial that you actually say the words, “I am firing you” or “I want to end our business relationship.” Your agent needs to understand that the relationship is over and that there isn’t a chance for the agent to fix something.
- Don’t just say, “I’m really unhappy” if you want to fire someone. The agent might think there is a chance to repair the relationship if all you say is you are “unhappy.”
- Instead, cut to the chase. Say, “Let me get to the point. I have some bad news. I’ve decided to end our business relationship. You are no longer my agent.” Always use the past tense to signal that the decision is final.
Follow up with a letter. After firing your agent, you should summarize the conversation in a letter so that you have adequate documentary proof of what you discussed. You don’t have to produce a transcript of the conversation, but you should hit the major points.
- You can start the letter by writing, “I’m writing this letter as a follow-up to our conversation on Saturday, when I ended our business relationship.”
- You should also address any ongoing work that the agent has been performing for you. For example, the agent might have been trying to negotiate an endorsement deal. You will need access to all notes and paperwork related to the negotiations.
- In your letter, you should request that the agent hand over a copy of your file, so that you can get your new agent up to speed.
Contact your union. If you believe your contract was abusive or your agent violated a fiduciary duty owed to you, stole money from you, or engaged in any other reprehensible activity, contact your union if you are part of one. As part of your union membership, you will receive help from your union when something happens. In the case of a bad agent, you may be able to prevent that agent from representing anyone else in the union. In addition, you may be able to file a union complaint.
Part 2 Part 2 of 2:Finding a New Sports Agent Download Article
Get referrals from other athletes. Ask fellow athletes if they would recommend their agent. You can also ask other sports professionals, such as trainers or coaches.
- Write down the agents’ names so that you can perform background research on them.
Search the Sports Agent Directory. The website www.sports-agent-directory.com hosts a comprehensive listing of sports agents. You can search for agents and get their direct contact information, including email or a website address (if available).
- This directory has only agents certified with the major sports leagues in the United States (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and the PGA).
- You have to pay to join. However, the cost is less than $100.
Contact the agent. You should call or send a quick email. Tell the agent how you got his name. For example, another athlete might have told you. Explain that you are looking to hire a new agent and ask the agent if he has time to meet with you.
- Not every agent will be willing to represent you. Some agents might only represent super-stars.
- However, even if an agent isn’t interested in representing you, he could send you the name of an agent who might.
Perform a background check. You don’t want to hire an agent blindly. If an agent is interested in representing you, then you should prepare to do a basic background check. You should request the following:
- References. The agent should be able to give you the names of current clients you could talk to. Once you have the names, you should call and talk to the referrals.
- A list of successful contracts. The agent should be willing to give you a list of contracts he has negotiated and a general sense of the terms of the contracts (duration, salary, bonuses).
Meet with the agent. You want to check that the agent is a good fit. After performing a basic background check, you should call up agents and ask if you could meet. This will basically be an interview, though you don’t have to use the word.
- If you had a particular problem with the agent, make sure to mention it when you interview the agent. For example, your old agent might not have ever returned your emails or phone calls. Be sure to ask any agent you interview how he handles client contact.
- Pay attention to how honest the agent sounds. You need an agent you can trust, and honesty is a big part of trust. You should avoid agents who never say anything negative about you. Instead, look for agents who offer a realistic assessment of your potential.
Show the representation agreement to your lawyer. Before signing with the agent, make sure that your lawyer looks over the representation agreement thoroughly. You don’t want to sign an unfavorable agreement. Drop the representation agreement off with your lawyer.
- A standard representation agreement should cover fees, payment schedule, the duration of the representation, and the scope of representation. It should also explain how you and your agent will settle disputes, such as by meeting with a third party mediator.
- Don’t be rushed into signing, either. Tell the agent that your lawyer is looking at the representation agreement and you will be in touch shortly. An agent who wants to rush you might have a questionable contract.