Former NFL Agent Pleads Guilty to Bribing Former UNC Players
Former NFL agent, Terry Watson, pleaded guilty to 13 counts of athlete-agent inducement for providing nearly $24,000 in cash to former UNC and current NFL players Robert Quinn, Marvin Austin, and Greg Little in 2010. Watson entered his plea deal on Monday, April 17, which concluded the more than three-year-old felony charges. The terms of his plea deal include 30 months of probation, a $5000 fine, and a suspended six to eight month jail sentence. A felony obstruction of justice charge for not providing records sought by authorities was dismissed as a part of the plea deal.
Watson was one of five people who faced charges in the case. Watson’s plea deal came hours after his friend, Patrick Mitchell Jones, agreed to testify against him as part of a deferred-prosecution deal that could lead to the dismissal of his charge after 12 months. In 2013, Jones was charged with athlete-agent inducement for providing $725 to Robert Quinn. An indictment stated that he provided the money through Quinn’s former girlfriend to entice Quinn to sign with Watson.
Jones’ worked as a real estate agent in Cartersville, Georgia, and a search warrant described him as Watson’s friend. The search warrant also stated that in 2012, Jones told an investigator that he would send packages containing cash to student-athletes at Watson’s request. Jones’ deal requires him to stay out of legal trouble, perform 48 hours of community service and not discuss the case with other defendants.
Watson formerly represented a half-dozen players, including defensive back Cortland Finnegan. However, his attorney, Russell Babb, told the court that Watson has not worked as a sports agent since he was first indicted in 2013, and has lost his license with the NFL Players Association. Watson has been working in chemical sales and is waiting tables as a second job while going through a divorce.
North Carolina Secretary of State, Elaine F. Marshall, stated “[y]ears ago when this all began, people in the athlete agent industry scoffed at us for looking into these cases. They said ‘This is how it works and you can’t change it.’ But today, everyone in that business knows that when you come to North Carolina, you had better follow the law. And if you don’t, we can and we will enforce the law.”