NBA Agent Keith Glass Stands Up to Poaching
That's the first thing he wants to make clear.
Sure, his rare victory in this case of agent-on-agent crime was the product of a number of factors, from the tireless work of his lawyer to the testimony of his son to the advantages that came with his own reputation being far more spotless than that of the accused, Andy Miller.
But if the client in question, former Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors guard Quincy Douby, hadn't faxed Glass' termination letter just blocks away from where Miller's office was located back on April 26, 2007, the decision that might spark change in the way the player-agent relationship is handled in the NBA might never have happened.
Douby, who Glass would later assert was coerced to change agents by Miller and his high school coach, Jack Ringel, had spoken with Glass not long before firing him. And even if he didn't know it yet, Glass' three-year process of firing back had officially begun.
"I was on the phone with Quincy, and he had not said anything, (but) I knew we had a problem (in their relationship)," Glass, who has been an agent for nearly 30 years, told FanHouse in what were his first extensive public comments about the case. "And I could tell that he was talking to somebody or somebody was talking to him as he was talking to me. I've known Quincy for years, and we'd gone through a lot. I could tell this conversation was not right. You didn't have to be a genius. He said to me, 'Mr. Glass, or Keith,' I'll call you back in five minutes, because he was being coached (by the person in the room). I never spoke to Quincy again in my life.
"Then an hour later, the fax machine goes off, and me and Tyler (his son, a colleague in his firm and a former teammate of Douby's at Rutgers) looked at each other and went, 'Uh oh. Here comes my termination letter.' Then Tyler looks at me and says, 'It's Andy Miller.'"
And so began the years of connect-the-dots detective work that led to the decision, one that has caught the attention of the NBA Players Association and could result in a change to the regulations that have been in place since 1991.
Because Miller's office in Tenafly, N.J., was less than a third of a mile away from the UPS store where Douby sent the letter, Tyler Glass had immediately suspected Miller was illicitly involved. That "coincidence" would serve as the genesis for the case that was first revealed by The New York Times, with the subsequent suspicion of arbitrator, George Nicolau, eventually leading to Miller's phone records being subpoenaed. And once they were seized, the evidence against Miller and Ringel only grew.
Despite Miller's testimony to the contrary, the records showed that his associate, Chris Brantley, and the agent had numerous conversations with Douby and Ringel in the month leading up to Glass's termination. Even worse, the phone records proved to Nicolau that Miller's contract with Douby, which Miller said was signed on May 14, 2007 while he was in Ringel's home, was actually executed on on April 24, 2007 -- two days before he terminated Glass -- in what was a violation of state law.
"We got the phone records, and then you have to go and make the phone records what they are," Glass recounted. "You have to investigate that, and (Glass's lawyer, Merric Polloway) went down and tried to find out every mobile phone he could've used or every phone in his office because we know what we're dealing with. You're dealing with a guy who apparently has done this stuff before, and we had to find it. ... There were a number of things we kept uncovering one after another that led the arbitrator to understand what was happening."
Miller, who did not return a call for comment for this story, was clearly viewed with skepticism by Nicolau because of his past. In 2000, the State of Florida determined that Miller, as the decision reads, "recruited and solicited a college athlete on behalf of his then sports management firm in July 1999 while, contrary to Florida law, he was unlicensed in the State." In 2002, his former employer, agent Eric Fleisher, received a $4.6 million settlement after suing Miller for, according to the report, "secretly signing some of Fleisher's clients, such as Kevin Garnett and Chauncey Billups, and then leaving the firm."
Yet while the monetary amount in Glass' case is far inferior to what Fleisher was awarded, Glass hopes that the fact that he reached a successful decision, as opposed to a settlement, can cause what he sees as necessary change.
"They settled that (Fleisher) verdict, and Eric probably isn't allowed to speak out on it," Glass said. "That verdict probably never went to the union, because that's a private settlement from the union. But the union is not hiding from this decision.
"Monetarily, it did not really amount to much. (Polloway) got paid, and we made a little bit on it. There were expenses or whatever, but I would do it again tomorrow. And if other agents are reading (this story), I will do it again tomorrow. The point is that at some point somebody has to stand up and say, 'Look, as a man, I'm not Pollyanna, I know what's going on, but if you can prove it -- which is hard -- then you go and do it.'"
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