Thursday, January 13, 2011

Shurmur’s impending hire creates conflict of interest for LaMonte

Momentum continues to build toward the hiring of Pat Shurmur as the next head coach of the Cleveland Brown.  Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC first reported that the move could happen as soon as Thursday.  Adam Schefter of ESPN now reports that Shurmur has emerged as the leading candidate, which was sort of implied by King’s report.
All that’s left, per Schefter, is the negotiation of a fair contract.  And with agent Bob LaMonte representing Holmgren and G.M. Tom Heckert and executive V.P. Bryan Wiedmeier, it shouldn’t be all that difficult to work out a deal.
But, frankly, that’s not the way it should be.  Say what you will about lawyers, but the rules governing the practice of law strictly prohibit conflicts of interest.  And that’s exactly what LaMonte is facing.
It’s impossible for LaMonte to push for the very best deal that he can for Shurmur, since at some point LaMonte potentially will be jeopardizing his relationship with Holmgren, Heckert, and/or Wiedmeier, if LaMonte pushes too hard.
There are plenty of competent agents and lawyers who could represent these various folks, and represent them well and zealously and without anything that could dampen that zeal.  But guys like LaMonte don’t wish to merely dabble in the representation of coaches and executives.  LaMonte wants to represent as many of them as possible, and the more he represents the more connected he becomes.  And the more attractive he becomes to guys who want to be head coaches.
That’s why, in a roundabout way, Shurmur probably shouldn’t feel that his interests are being undermined by LaMonte’s fiduciary duties to Holmgren, Heckert, and Wiedmeier.  If LaMonte weren’t representing Shurmur, Shurmur probably wouldn’t be on the brink of becoming the Browns’ next head coach.
Another one of LaMonte’s clients would be.
It doesn’t make any of it right, but as long as the NFL and the various states in which LaMonte represents clients is willing to permit this kind of stuff, it will continue.

author:  Mike Florio

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