FanDuel - WFBC

April 27, 2007

Private eyes are watching you?: Possible #1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell says that at one point recently an NFL team -- he says he does not know which one -- spied on him for a period of several days and possibly longer by assigning someone to follow him. Fair game or not?

posted by forrestv to football at 02:19 AM - 40 comments

I hate to link to CBS Sportsline, but couldn't find it anywhere else. Sorry.

posted by forrestv at 02:19 AM on April 27

I'm not surprised. I'd love to read a story about one of these spies from an NFL team's scouting dept. getting arrested for stalking. What a great way to show character, by spying on someone to judge their character.

posted by Bishop at 04:13 AM on April 27

What a great way to show character, by spying on someone to judge their character. Good point. Sadly, I can't say I'm too surprised either. As the players get coached on how to answer the tests that are supposed to give some insight into their character, they're going to have do work harder to differentiate one really good player from another really good player. Maybe there's a bright side. For example, if someone had spied on Mike Mamula they would have seen him get run over by an 8 year-old at the local park. But next time they might want to spend a little more money and maybe get the sneaky folks to do the tailing.

posted by SummersEve at 05:02 AM on April 27

JaMarcus needs to sit down and watch "North Dallas Forty." You had better learn how to play the game, and I don't mean just the game of football. --Seth Maxwell Just don't leave any cash out on your dresser, kid.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 05:09 AM on April 27

I'd feel troubled about this if it were for most jobs, but lets be honest- starting QB in the NFL is, at this point, nearly as much about the marketing image you present for the franchise off the field as it is about the game you have on the field. So off-field behavior is relevant in a way out-of-office behavior isn't for most of us.

posted by tieguy at 06:58 AM on April 27

With as hard as the commish is comming down on players lately I don't blame them one bit if they did it. Would want to waste a number one pick on a guy who is going to be suspended for half the season or more just because of the things he does off the field?

posted by jojomfd1 at 07:07 AM on April 27

I am not sure that this is any different than companies that employ "secret shoppers" or restaurants that send in "spotters" who pretend to be patrons and then report back on their experiences to the parent company. Sport is a HUGE business and teams take big risks when it comes to some players. I doubt anyone will argue that the NFL is experiencing some bad press when it comes to the "character issue" right now. Pac Man Jones, Chris Henry (well, the entire Bengals team really), Michael Vick, etc. etc. Teams don't want to invest in a player only to find out when it is too late that the person they drafted (and paid big time) has character flaws. The teams have the combine, the so-called intelligence tests, and now this. That all being said, my opinion is that all of this should be more above the board. Players should know that as part of the process they will be observed just as they are at the scouting combine.

posted by scully at 07:41 AM on April 27

The League office keeps several "security" agents with every team. Their job is to protect not just players, but more importantly, the shield. They report findings to the Commish and have thwarted crimes like blackmail in the past. We may not like the idea but it is not a crime. Weather employed by the NFL, or in this case that greeseball Al Davis, no laws are being broken here. These are likely licenced private investigators under contract and simply observing people in public spaces.

posted by r8rh8r27 at 08:30 AM on April 27

Weather employed by the NFL.... I know the NFL have their hands on a lot of things but I never knew that they employed the weather. Is that the reason that the Super Bowl is always played in warm weathered states? That's just amazing! Seriously though, I find this to be very disturbing. I mean, I can understand the NFL wanting to know as much information as possible on future NFL players but isn't this crossing the line a bit? It may not be illegal but is it moral? Well, at least we know that the NFL suits live a life that's pure as snow. Yeah, right!

posted by BornIcon at 09:28 AM on April 27

When you're going to spend 10's of millions of dollars on something... I'm sure the same precautions are taken when you're spending the cash on someone. I bet this is not the first time it has happend and won't be the last.

posted by yay-yo at 09:29 AM on April 27

I'm sure the same precautions are taken when you're spending the cash on someone. You know what yay-yo, you have a point. I remember when I had to pay around $100 for my Comcast internet service and since I felt it was a lot of money, I followed the Comcast installer around just to make sure he was up to par. Well, since it's not illegal, I figured what the hell!

posted by BornIcon at 09:44 AM on April 27

I am not sure that this is any different than companies that employ "secret shoppers" or restaurants that send in "spotters" who pretend to be patrons and then report back on their experiences to the parent company. You have to be kidding me. I am not sure this is any different than what Ann Ladd or William Lepeska have done. Or Bernard Barker, Virgilio González, Eugenio Martínez, James W. McCord, Jr. and Frank Sturgis, for that matter. This is outrageous, and in my opinion creates a far worse image issue for the NFL than anything any of the players are doing.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 09:52 AM on April 27

isn't this crossing the line a bit? It may not be illegal but is it moral? This seems to be another example of how far teams in the NFL are willing to go to get a competitive advantage. It reminds me of the Dolphins purchasing tapes of Tom Brady's signal calling. Also not illegal, but what about ethical?

posted by chamo at 09:59 AM on April 27

Private Eves their watching you they see your everymove I had too write that but if Jamarcus goes to the raiders he's gonna have a problem completing passes when he's throwing with his back on the turf

posted by luther70 at 10:02 AM on April 27

It reminds me of the Dolphins purchasing tapes of Tom Brady's signal calling. Please tell me you're kidding. How was Tom Brady's privacy ever invaded by a rival team buying game tape of him that was publicly available to anybody who wanted it? JaMarcus Russell claims that he was spied on, and that somebody was following him, which anybody in his position could rightly mistake for a stalker, possibly deranged. Of course, if he's worried about being followed by deranged weirdos, he'd better hope the Raiders don't draft him.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 10:09 AM on April 27

I followed the Comcast installer... Are you a licensed private investigator, or do you have a techie fetish? Just wondering. but is it moral? Lets talk about the moral implications of handing over a 15 million dollar check and the keys to a franchise worth half a billion dollars to a 21 year old who has yet to take a single snap. What if he has a cocaine habit? Would it be moral to become the enabler of his addiction for the next few months?

posted by r8rh8r27 at 10:17 AM on April 27

These are likely licenced private investigators under contract.... Do you know this for a fact or are you just assuming? Just wondering. "....simply observing people in public places"...? So I take it that this is the opposite of bird watching?

posted by BornIcon at 10:35 AM on April 27

I hate to say it, but I too have a hard time mustering outrage over this. It sounds to me like the teams are doing their due diligence. Is it the nicest thing in the world? No, but there are far more serious matters to be outraged about (and I'm talking about in football and specifically relating to the draft). And I certainly don't see anything immoral about it, but maybe someone could explain that to me.

posted by 86 at 10:54 AM on April 27

Don't think of it as "stalking". Think of it as "super-scouting"! Or, possibly as training for the future super star when reporters will be following him every where he goes. It's slimy, and it would be a bit creepy, but like 86 said, it sounds like more "due diligence" than anything.

posted by grum@work at 11:08 AM on April 27

All eyes will be on him once he gets the job somewhere so what's so wierd about this? Congrats JaMarcus, you are now a public figure. Get used to it. In the coming years there may be dozens of these people everywhere you go...except then they are called paparazzi. Same exact thing kid, just a different name.

posted by timdawg at 11:16 AM on April 27

Do you know this for a fact or are you just assuming? It's an assumption of course. Hence, "likely". If I knew it to be fact I would have said that. Seriously, you are really testing the cliche, "there are no stupid questions". In fact, you may have debunked it. Congratulations. I made my assumption based on two very relevant facts: -The NFL employs private investigators to keep tabs on both players and teams. These NFL employees are often recruited from the FBI. Their services are available to teams upon request. I believe the Panther convicted of murder (Carruth?) was caught due to information gathered by NFL security. -If (another dreaded assumption) a team did in fact hire someone to watch Russell it is a business expense. For the purposes of tax deduction and NFL financial disclosure, a receipt from the service provider is required. Therefore only a licensed PI would prevent legal exposure. Remember this entire debate is based on an assumption by Russell that he is being followed AND he assumes a particular team is responsible for this. I'm sorry these assumptions have caused you to become 'very disturbed'. Perhaps one day you will have the luxury of paying someone 15 million in guaranteed money before they work a single day. This would likely cure your illness. p.s. After the sarcasm, spell check, and general douchebaggery, will a relevant point be coming or not? Just wondering?

posted by r8rh8r27 at 11:25 AM on April 27

The NFL might want to be carefull doing this. Not just to Nelson, but anyone. For exampe, some gangsta linebacker is being watched by one of these scouts. Next thing the scout knows is that he's looking down the barrel of a 45.

posted by TelamarketersBeware at 11:35 AM on April 27

After the sarcasm, spell check, and general douchebaggery, will a relevant point be coming or not? Signs point to no.

posted by yerfatma at 11:43 AM on April 27

Signs point to no. Are you using past experience or a more scientific approach, The Magic 8-Ball?

posted by r8rh8r27 at 11:46 AM on April 27

I believe the Panther convicted of murder (Carruth?) was caught due to information gathered by NFL security. WHAT?!!? Rae Carruth was caught by the FBI with information given to them from the state police in Tennessee. Seriously, the NFL was involved in capturing a murder suspect hiding in the trunk of his car in Tennessee? Sure and it was former NFL-commish Paul Tagliabu that led the rush while wearing his kevlar and armed with an M-16. Now that's funny. Thanks, I needed that. p.s. After the sarcasm, spell check, and general douchebaggery, will a relevant point be coming or not? You tell me. By the way, it was Jerry Rice who was stationed on a rooftop equipped with a suppressed sniper rife while Sgt. Tagliabu handcuffed the suspect. Just thought you needed to know.

posted by BornIcon at 11:47 AM on April 27

The NFL employs private investigators to keep tabs on both players and teams. These NFL employees are often recruited from the FBI. r8rh8r27 Rae Carruth was caught by the FBI... BornIcon Just thought you needed to know that two NFL security officers were called to testify in Rae's trial. NASA scientists working with the Hubble telescope have recently discovered black holes less dense than you. Carry on.

posted by r8rh8r27 at 11:58 AM on April 27

NASA scientists working with the Hubble telescope have recently discovered black holes less dense than you Now you're just being juvenile. If someone doesn't agree with what you have to say, do you also call them stupid?

posted by BornIcon at 12:14 PM on April 27

I really do not see the problem here. Is it a little shady yes but I have no idea why anyone including Russel is shocked. This should not even be a discussion. Welcome to the scrutiny of THE LEAGUE

posted by Debo270 at 12:24 PM on April 27

When someone doesn't agree with you do you usually begin making asinine correlations like your $100.00 Comcast bill being exactly like a $15,000,000 personnel investment at quarterback? *Undoubtedly the NFL agents watching the Panthers had no relevant information regarding what cars Rae drove, the homes he visited, or people he hung out with. And these agents, former FBI investigators, would have absolutely no contacts in the FBI in which to relay their information. Therefore your juvenile assessment of Jerry Rice's involvement is completely justified.* p.s. *__* denotes *mild* sarcasm.

posted by r8rh8r27 at 12:38 PM on April 27

Lets talk about the moral implications of handing over a 15 million dollar check and the keys to a franchise worth half a billion dollars to a 21 year old who has yet to take a single snap. Sure. Makes sense if it's your $15 million. Do you think Brady Quinn was followed with such interest? Naw. He's a good ol' fashioned clean cut All-American boy. He stays home with his Momma. To me this is another bullet-point in my essay "The NFL: So Rich and Popular It Justifies Them To Do Anything They Want." I think the real issue is why do rookies in the NFL make $15 million when vets make a huge amount less? That system is fucked.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:58 PM on April 27

I remember when I had to pay around $100 for my Comcast internet service and since I felt it was a lot of money, I followed the Comcast installer around just to make sure he was up to par. Perhaps you missed something. Your example makes no sense because you are paying for the Cable not the dude who installed it. I am sure that you investigated your options between Cable and Satelite, right? If not, then you simply aren't as prudent a shopper as some NFL teams. (Not to mention that your $100 pales in comparison to TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS) Next time you have something to add, THINK FIRST.

posted by yay-yo at 01:52 PM on April 27

If someone doesn't agree with what you have to say, do you also call them stupid? There are no stupid people, only stupid comments. Often made by stupid people.

posted by tahoemoj at 02:07 PM on April 27

Are you using past experience or a more scientific approach Answer is cloudy, but as you may have ascertained, scientific approaches are frowned upon here. Juvenility, however, is strongly supported.

posted by yerfatma at 02:14 PM on April 27

Next time you have something to add, THINK FIRST Said the pot to the kettle. Did you actually spend all that time trying to analyze my sarcasm? Wow.

posted by BornIcon at 02:35 PM on April 27

Maybe someone did follow Brady Quinn around, we cant know that for sure...anyways I cant say I feel this is some horrible sin that is being committed, if you are going to sign a number one draft pick to a multimillion dollar deal, I would want to know as much about him as possible. I bet the Titans wish they had seen Pac-Man b4 they drafted his ass top ten, maybe if they had seen him go from stripclub to stripclub maybe they might of drafted some one else... but really though, have we all already forgotten the new NFL stipulations concerning "troubled" players. If a club is found to have a "thing" for drafting them, they can lose draft picks!!! I know as a Colt fan that would KILL us since we are a small market team, we cant afford to get stronger through free agency, so GM Bill Polian built a Super Bowl Championship through the drafts... Its all about the green backs yo, its a business

posted by dezznutz at 02:55 PM on April 27

r8rh8r27 and BornIcon, Good stuff guys, this was way more entertaining than the link itself. Anyways if this really was such a big deal, this probably would had been on ESPN such as that stupid Curt Shilling's bloody sock "controversy". Teams should know who they are drafting. I feel more sorry for Russell because he will probably be a raider, being followed cant be one millionth as bad as being a raider.

posted by STUNNER at 11:17 PM on April 27

So Jamarcus Russell is irked about being followed around. There are those of us who might have a similar complaint, but knowing why it happens tends to make it easier on us. My employer monitors our e-mails. I have been reprimanded for sending one that I probably shouldn't have sent, and since the computer and the facilities belong to my employer, it's his right. It is also his right to periodically, while I am attached to the company LAN, to check my history file to see if I have been to any questionable sites. This has little to do with personal surveillance, but the following does. I hold a security clearance. In order to get and retain this clearance, I had to answer a lot of personal questions. On top of this, I had a very lengthy interview with an investigator. Several of my friends and neighbors were contacted and quizzed about my activities. To all of this I willingly gave permission. It is necessary to me so that I can keep my job (which I love), and so the federal government can rest assured that I am not going to sell information pertaining to classified defense technologies to people on SpoFi. My point is, if you don't like the things that are required for you to be employed in a certain job, you had best be prepared to change careers.

posted by Howard_T at 05:30 PM on April 28

I have been reprimanded for sending one that I probably shouldn't have sent I am still into it if you want to meet at a rest stop.

posted by yerfatma at 06:16 PM on April 28

I feel more sorry for Russell because he will probably be a raider, being followed cant be one millionth as bad as being a raider. posted by STUNNER at 11:17 PM CDT on April 27 I have a hard time finding any sympathy for this guy regardless of the NFL Team he's playing on. Certainly Teams have a responsibility to diligently safeguard the multimillion dollar investment they make in a player. More needless whining from a spoiled athlete. I got this guy as one of the biggest busts in NFL History. Remember, you heard it here first, Oakland will regret the day they took him #1. This author's outrage is about as compelling as Floyd Landis' claim of being framed. It really pee's me off when Sports Writers insist I'm some kind of a heartless person because I don't share his outrage. What a bunch of BS! Oakland passed on Matt Lienart and Jay Cutler then go goo goo over this guy's arm. This totally reminds me of the Ryan Leaf fiasco. Davis moaned publicly last year about not taking a quarterback in the 1st round then he grabs the flavor of the week at QB because he can throw a football 70 yards. Lane Kiffin did a fine job helping Lienart and Carson Palmer at USC but these guy have some football instict and leadership ability. I'm with Trent Modglin of ProFootball Weekly on this one. Oakland took the wrong QB with this years #1.

posted by skydivedad at 08:53 AM on April 29

I guess JaMarcus also has the right (a) to bust a cap in the ass of the stalker; or (b) filing a restraining order on Mr. Burning Bed Ass Cop. (I guess I'd choose B -- wouldn't want anyone to think I carry firearms.) Howard, I understand what you're saying in terms of some of the checking. I've gotten several phone calls from the feds over the last decade, asking me about a roommate I spent all of nine months rooming with. And I understand how many companies do the Big Brother thing on computers. But there's a difference between a computer that the company owns and engaging in 24-hour surveillance on someone who isn't even employed by these teams. For anyone invoking Pac-Man or Chris Henry as an argument for what happened to JaMarcus Russell, the fact is that it didn't exactly require Stasi to find out that these guys were total asses. Ninety-percent of the time, that tends to be the case. There's stuff in the paper. There's game and practice tape. There's a trip to the cop shop. There are calls to be made, just like the calls I get every few years when my friend is up for another gov't job. Bottom line: College campuses are worlds small enough to uncover and corroborate plenty of unsettling bits and pieces about an athlete who doesn't know how to act right. At that point, the team can draft the guy or not. As I remember, Pac-Man had a rap-ish sheet and was the No. 6 guy taken in the draft. So much for looking out for investments. P.S. -- The NFL security (actually Panthers' security) was more of a hinderance in the Carruth investigation, not a help.

posted by jackhererra at 07:35 PM on May 01

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