Friday, April 28, 2006

The Reggie Bush Saga Gets More Interesting

Two very different pictures of what occurred between Reggie Bush's family and those associated with New Era Sports & Entertainment LLC are beginning to emerge.

The first coming from those associated with New Era Sports & Entertainment. Michael Michaels, the man who tried to steer Bush to New Era Sports & Entertainment claims that Bush's mother and stepfather agreed to pay $4,500 in monthly rent when they moved into the Spring Valley house. They didn't pay the first few months but promised to pay when Bush turned pro and started earning millions. Michaels' attorney, Brian Watkins, claims that Bush was made aware of the situation and promised to repay the debt when he turned professional. Watkins added that the Bush family never paid a "dime...It was always, 'Don't worry, we'll pay you'… you can take it out of our profits."

In addition to living rent free, the Bush family received money from Michaels to help them travel to USC road games.

Not only was the Bush family not paying any rent on the home and taking cash from Michaels according to Watkins, but that Bush's stepfather, Lamar Griffin, approached longtime friend and documented gang member, Lloyd Lake, during Bush's sophomore season about forming a sports management business. Then the two men joined Michael Michaels to form New Era Sports & Entertainment.

Relations with the family deteriorated when Bush hired Joel Segal as his agent and spurred New Era Sports & Entertainment. Watkins sent the Bush family an eviction notice on April 3 after they had not paid approximately $54,000 in rent.

Watkins went on to say that they are planning on filing a $3 million suit against Bush's parents and possibly Bush. The suit would cover $300,000 in money that Michaels claims he and Lake, put into the business, plus punitive damages.

A far different story is being painted in an story, which was likely leaked by the Bush camp. In the story, it claims:

The NFL Players Association and NFL Security have concluded that sports agent David Caravantes and fledgling marketing company New Era Sports used an attorney to try and force USC running back Reggie Bush to pay them $3.2 million after Bush decided not to sign with the group, sources told ESPN's Joe Schad on Thursday.

According to the sources, Caravantes threatened to reveal embarrassing personal information about the Bush family if he did not receive the money. Sources also say Caravantes tried to evict the family from a San Diego house they rented from his business associate Michael Michaels.

The NFLPA claims in a disciplinary complaint written Thursday that Brian Watkins, an attorney allegedly representing Caravantes and New Era Sports, engaged in unlawful conduct by demanding payment in at least three letters. Those letters were dated Feb. 13, March 7 and April 26, a source said. In another letter to the Bush family, dated March 2, Watkins identifies his clients as New Era Sports and Caravantes. New Era Sports marketing materials identify Caravantes as Chief Executive Officer, according to the source.

While the arrangement that Michaels and Bush's family had and what happened after Bush spurred New Era Sports & Entertainment is far from clear at this point, one thing appears to be clear. Bush's family was living in a house that they paid little to no money in rent to a man who wanted to market Reggie Bush. If that is not a NCAA violation, I don't know what is. I have to say that I feel a little sorry for Reggie Bush because his parents are complete idiots. Ok, you're having some financial problems, fine. But find a family friend who will help you out because you're his or her friend, not because he or she wants to be able to market your son when he turns pro.

UPDATE: If you've been wondering what Michael Michaels looks like, wonder no more.
Yes, that's Michaels sporting a bolo tie and leather shirt and hanging out with James Brown.