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Vernon Davis declined Dancing With The Stars


The current season of ABC’s Dancing With The Stars doesn’t include a current or former NFL player, for a change. Previously, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said he passed on the opportunity to join the cast.

As it turns out, 49ers tight end Vernon Davis said “no thanks,” too.

“I got an offer to do Dancing With the Stars this year but couldn’t, even though it was a beautiful opportunity,” Davis told Robert Klemko of “I have a feel for [the demands] now. I know what could be too much for me.”

A potential factor in assessing the opportunity may have been his obligation to Fantex, which has purchased 10 percent of his future earnings for $4 million. If any money earned on Dancing With The Stars would have been subject to the Fantex arrangement, the ultimate assessment of the offer surely would have taken into account the reality that 10 percent of the compensation would have been forfeited.

Even if the agreement with Fantex exempts potential Dancing With The Stars revenue, doing the show could have expanded the Vernon Davis brand, setting the stage for other opportunities that would have fallen within the scope of the Fantex arrangement.

While Davis presumably has the ability under his agreement with Fantex to reject opportunities to earn money that would be shared with the Fantex investors who are being solicited to buy shares in the player, folks who lose money on investments sometimes look for ways to sue. If a player rejects enough opportunities to earn money that would be shared with Fantex investors, one or more could decide to take legal action.

That’s why one agent explained to PFT when the concept first emerged last year that he’d recommend against his clients taking the money in exchange for an obligation to share future earnings. The process entails plenty of risks and potentially unintended consequences, up to and including a player being tempted to hide income from Fantex in order to avoid sharing 10 percent of the money. Which then could result, if the hidden income is discovered, in charges of tax evasion.

While it may seem to the player that it’s worth the large check that’s cut at the outset of the process, the obligation to share revenue lingers for decades. With taxes and agent fees and other expenses sucking away the money that the player ultimately takes home if he becomes a broadcaster or coach, men who aren’t inclined to think five years into the future need to consider the possibility of spending the next 50 years worrying about paying money to Fantex, along with everyone else who takes a piece of the pie.

Of course, the company may not last 50 years. And if/when it goes belly up, it becomes even more likely that the folks who lost money by “investing” in athletes will sue anyone and everyone -- and any player with assets will bear the risk of expensive litigation ending with a judgment that, combined with legal fees, could wipe out the after-tax money that the player was paid by Fantex in the first place.