Kenny Golladay’s Former Agent Sues Memorabilia Man For Interference
A sports agent who previously represented Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay has filed a lawsuit against the owner of a sports memorabilia company. In the legal dispute, Jason Bernstein and his sports agency Clarity Sports International seek more than $75,000, representing their lost fees under Bernstein’s Standard Representation Agreement (SRA) with Golladay.
Bernstein and Golladay entered into their SRA in December 2016. The standard contract between player and agent indicates that Golladay agreed to pay Bernstein a 3% commission from all team contracts negotiated on his behalf. Additionally, it included a separate Endorsement and Marketing Agreement as an addendum.
The Endorsement and Marketing Agreement was actually between Bernstein’s agency, in its corporate form, and Golladay. It indicated that Clarity Sports International shall serve as Golladay’s exclusive representative for the purpose of procuring, negotiating and managing endorsement opportunities, including autograph signing appearances. Clarity Sports International was entitled to a 15% commission on these off-field deals in exchange for the services it provided Golladay.
Bernstein and Clarity Sports International initiated a lawsuit in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, because they believe that Redland Sports and its owner Gerry Ochs intentionally interfered with the exclusive arrangement. Bernstein says he first became aware of Redland Sports’ involvement with Golladay through a post made on Redland Sports’ Facebook page.
Not only was Bernstein upset that a third party seemed to be preventing his company from receiving its guaranteed commission, but he also claims that this frustrated his ability to conclude negotiating a contract for a different signing on behalf of Golladay. Bernstein’s reaction was to send an email to Ochs in an effort to educate him about the exclusive arrangement between Golladay and Clarity Sports International.
The email was followed up with a text message. Bernstein says he never received a reply to either communication.
Meanwhile, the autograph signing moved forward and, interestingly, Bernstein says that Ochs teamed up with a different NFL agent on the task. According to the Complaint, Ochs and Redland Sports tapped prominent NFL agent Todd France and others at Creative Artists Agency’s sports division to arrange the Golladay signing even though France was not listed as Golladay’s named Contract Advisor nor marketing agent with the NFL Players Association. Bernstein speculates in the Complaint that Ochs was aware that France desired to represent Golladay, and that France hoped to persuade Golladay to become one of his clients.
While the federal lawsuit was not filed against France, Bernstein points out that three days after the autograph signing, Kenny Golladay terminated his SRA with Bernstein.
Bernstein and his company have sued based on tortious interference with existing contractual relationships. The lawsuit was initiated on February 22, and no answer has been filed as of yet.