"I know a lot of people want to fall in love with the idea of wanting to be faithful to the team until you die because there’s a lot of that hometown feeling. This is a business, and as soon as they think you don’t fit, you are gone. So you have to make sure you maintain your business angle to it." -Brian Waters, June 5th, 2009
The NFL is a business alright. As Kansas City Chiefs fans we have received a shrewd reminder of that reality in recent months. The excitement of receiving Mike Vrabel as a "throw in" to the Matt Cassel trade wore off quickly when his initial press conference with Kansas City area reporters wasn't exactly a session that pumped us up as fans.
What's in it for you to come to Kansas City? A change of scenery, a different place to work, a different place to live.
Did you want out of New England? I wouldn’t say that is necessarily true, but the situation is what it is.
Though Vrabel later said he's committed to the Chiefs and excited about playing for them, I wondered how sincere he was. Eleven wins to two wins isn't the easiest situation for a player but I'm a fan. I want all players to love this team as much as I do. I want the players to be obsessed with Kansas City, Arrowhead stadium and the rich tradition of football around these parts as much as I do.
In the back of my mind I understand the reality that this is a job for most NFL players, but I thought we had a guy like that in Brian Waters. Unfortunately, reality reared it's ugly head again. It's a business, I reminded myself.
For Waters, that reminder is front and center. Acting as his own agent, Waters created this "saga" as he calls it and now he's going to have to get himself out of it.
By all indications his feelings have been hurt, which is understandable. That happens in all walks of business. But when personal feelings invade your business dealings, it's usually not a good result.
The "right way" to take care of the incident that reportedly occurred between him and Todd Haley and Scott Pioli back in February would have been to speak with his agent, who would have A) approached the team about it in the appropriate setting (i.e. not days before the onset of free agency) or B) leaked the information to the press in a way that wouldn't have harmed his reputation (like it already has).
But Waters is his own agent. He can't help but bring his personal feelings to the table when he speaks with Chiefs management, for better or for worse. And for the Chiefs front office, how can they distinguish between Brian Waters the player and Brian Waters the agent?
They can't. And that's a problem.
infamously made the rounds last season acting as his own agent while he looked for work. He turned down a $1 million offer from the to back up against the advice of a lot of folks in the media. He eventually got his gig with the but there was a lot of criticism for the way he was handling his business considering he doesn't have the experience or expertise NFLPA certified agents do.
Being an NFL agent is a fraternity of sorts. If a player like Culpepper or Waters go against the grain and represents themselves, therefore limiting the available pool of money to agents, there's going to be some backlash. Agents are very, very powerful in this business and if you wrong one of them, let alone all of them, you could be in for some trouble.
At this point, the damage has been done with Waters. He's prideful and can't walk into Scott Pioli's office and resolve the "business aspect" of this issue. It's personal for him and business for the front office meaning we're not going to see an easy resolution to the matter.