Thursday, August 6, 2009

What is the value of bad advice?

9 months ago, Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree made a highlight reel catch against Texas to win an important game for the Red Raiders, knocking the mighty Longhorns from the top of the polls.

A little more than 3 months ago, Crabtree was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the 1st round of the NFL Draft. As of this writing, Crabtree has yet to sign, and has claimed he won't, even going so far as to sit out the season and re-enter the draft next year.

It seems Crabtree was promised by the agent he hired, Eugene Parker, that he would be among the top 5 draft picks, specificially between #s 3 & 5. It didn't happen. Parker, and some of Crabtree's family and friends, are flooding Crabtree's ears with ideas, including the year-long holdout, getting him thinking he deserves the money befitting a top 5 pick. They've seen the Oakland Raiders sign their 1st round pick, Darrius Heyward-Bey, for around 25 million dollars, and think Crabtree, because he played on a higher profile team, is worth that much.

Well, I've got two words for Mr. Crabtree. Prove it.

Rightfully, a rookie should accept the way the cards have been dealt. Take the offer that's there ($20 million), report to camp, and show the coaches that you're the kind of player they had in mind when they drafted you. There are too many cases of young, untested players coming out of college too soon, demanding A-list money when their skills aren't fully formed. We have seen this in basketball, too, with kids using college as a mere steppingstone, leaving after 1 season, convinced by scouts and agents that education isn't as important as it used to be. Well, if at least 70-80% of these kids took economics classes, they'd realize that they're taking shortcuts to realize their dreams. Some make it work (i.e. Kobe Bryant, LeBron James in the NBA, Adrian Peterson of the Vikings), others don't.

Some agents think they know what's best for their clients. Eugene Parker made a promise that went unfulfilled, and now he's scrambling to make good. Michael Crabtree is squandering the talent he has because of too many people in his ears, filling them with bad advice. Re-enter the draft? From what I've read on message boards today, everyone believes that if Crabtree decides to wait a year, he'll fall to the 3rd round or later next year.

Holding out is never a good idea, and yet this happens every year, with rookies and veterans alike, the latter seeking to renegotiate existing contracts based on a perception of respect, or lack thereof. Woody Allen & Steve Miller had it right more than 30 years ago. Take the money and run. Tom Petty said that the waiting is the hardest part back in 1981. For Michael Crabtree, and others like him, waiting is not and cannot be an option. The time to act---and play---is now.

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