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The Rise of the Snowplow Sports Parents

By Kalyn Kahler, Sports Illustrated, 06/21/19, 11:00AM CDT

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In football as in other sports, they’re drawing up business plans, starting marketing agencies, turning up at practice and even monitoring phone use. 

In football as in other sports, they’re drawing up business plans, starting marketing agencies, turning up at practice and even monitoring phone use. But by clearing out every obstacle on their kids’ road to stardom, hyper-involved moms and dads threaten to deprive young athletes of critical life experiences. And they’re driving coaches and agents nuts.

Arriving at his draft-night party, Dwayne Haskins Jr. steps out of a gray van with a large logo affixed to its side: a black circle with two white H’s that connect in the middle. The Ohio State quarterback makes his way past fans and media down a red carpet, printed with the same logo, and walks under a banner displaying the two H’s. The symbol is everywhere and—to the uninitiated—could be more than a bit confusing: There is, after all, only one Dwayne Haskins about to be drafted. So why two H’s?

As Haskins Jr. wades through 300 of his closest friends and paying customers inside the Bowlmor Lanes in Gaithersburg, Md.—$40 covered bowling, food and drinks—the person responsible for that second h stays attached to his hip. It is his dad.

Dwayne Haskins Sr. has meticulously planned the draft-night event not just to launch his son’s career but also to launch their new family endeavor: Haskins & Haskins Group, LLC, an entertainment, branding and event agency that he registered shortly after Junior declared for the NFL draft in January. He has the two-H logo tattooed on the inside of his wrist, as do Dwayne Jr.’s mom, Tamara, and 18-year-old sister, Tamia, an aspiring actor. (The QB plans on getting it later.) The second h technically refers to Tamia, according to Dwayne Sr., but there’s little doubt who the driving force behind the company is.

Haskins Sr., it turns out, is not unique. One NBA agent said two out of his eight clients have their own LLCs to handle marketing and branding opportunities, set up by parents soon after their college careers ended.

And pro sports parents have lately found a range of ways to assert themselves in their children’s careers: Anthony Davis Sr. made headlines when he told ESPN he doesn’t want his son to play for the Boston Celtics. Galu and Diane Tagovailoa uprooted their family from Hawaii to Tuscaloosa to be closer to their son Tua, Alabama’s quarterback. When two-sport star Kyler Murray appeared on The Dan Patrick Show in February and the host questioned him about whether he’d choose MLB or the NFL, Murray struggled to answer, fidgeted and looked off camera to find his dad, Kevin. Patrick then started addressing questions to the father.

And you know about LaVar Ball.