Pitching NIL deals: Suspended Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer

The proposal, which landed in front of several dozen NCAA athletes this week, was pretty typical: Would you be interested in promoting a product and making some money from it?

What made the pitch unusual was the pitcher.

“We are looking for motivated and talented collegiate athletes to work exclusively with me, Trevor Bauer,” reads the proposal, signed by Bauer. A copy of the proposal was obtained from the Los Angeles Times.

Bauer has not campaigned for the Dodgers for 14 months after being placed on remand and then suspended for violating baseball’s sexual assault and domestic violence policy. Bauer is appealing the suspension, but in the meantime he is offering college athletes – mostly baseball players – a chance to make money and gain notoriety by promoting his Bauer Outage line of merchandise.

In exchange for free goods, athletes would have to “create quality content on social media” and would receive “opportunities for commissions and bonuses,” according to the proposal. Bauer’s representatives confirmed the authenticity of the proposal but declined to comment on the records. The proposal asks athletes to respond by Sunday.

In addition to his line of merchandise, Bauer has launched Momentum, which features the behind-the-scenes videos he believes are essential in marketing baseball to a new generation of fans who grew up on social media.

“Athletes build their own brands,” said Blake Lawrence, chief executive of Opendorse, a company that says it has helped more than 80,000 athletes connect with branding opportunities.

“There is no player in the last decade who has done more to improve the personal brand conversation in baseball than Trevor Bauer. If he wants to keep building the brand, he needs to do things that keep the brand relevant.”

In 2020, Opendorse partnered with Momentum to help athletes share social media content with the widest possible audience. Lawrence told The Times he’s aware of Bauer’s NIL proposal — the “Name, Image and Likeness” rules now allow college athletes to make money without drawing a salary from their school — but is working currently not in its implementation.

“Any NIL deal should be reviewed by student athletes and their support system to understand the implications of affiliation with that brand,” Lawrence said.

Bauer’s brand was tarnished by his two-year suspension, the longest under baseball’s sexual assault and domestic violence policy. Bauer has not been charged with a crime and has denied any violation of the policy, but neither Bauer nor Major League Baseball have publicly said what evidence the league used to justify the suspension.

Bauer has sued the woman whose allegations sparked the league’s investigation; she sues him too. Bauer has also sued two media outlets for defamation.

The Momentum website calls Bauer “baseball’s most polarizing figure.”

Lawrence suggested that Bauer would find quite a number of athletes interested in taking up his offer. When Barstool Sports, an outlet loved by some sports fans and deeply loathed by others, revealed a ZERO opportunity, Lawrence said more than 100,000 athletes applied.

“Many readers think of Barstool Sports as a battered brand with a bad reputation,” Lawrence said. “The perception of a brand for an 18-22 year old might be different than the readers of many sports publications out there.”

https://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/story/2022-08-25/now-pitching-nil-deals-trevor-bauer Pitching NIL deals: Suspended Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer

Emma Bowman

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