The first comment on the most recent post on Carl’s Cards’ Facebook page sums this story up rather nicely: Another Eric Lindros all over again.
Earlier today, Carl’s Cards, the Havertown cards and collectibles shop that routinely hosts local athletes for signings, posted a rather pointed announcement on Facebook about the cancellation of a scheduled Dom Brown autograph session:
Due to extreme unforeseen circumstances surrounding Domonic Brown’s father, our autograph signing with Domonic Brown has been canceled. Here, at Carl’s Cards we have done everything we possibly could to make this work. Unfortunately, because of his father’s lack of cooperation we could not get him to change his mind. We have a signed contract in hand, but he has chosen to no longer honor it based on Dom’s recent All Star performance. We are just as disappointed to make this announcement as you are. We were really looking forward to this signing. If you have already purchased tickets, please notify us if you would like a refund or if you would like to exchange your ticket for an upcoming autograph signing. Please direct any and all questions/concerns to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once again, we apologize for any inconvenience this causes, but this is completely and unfortunately out of our hands. We at Carl’s Cards hate these sorts of situations.
I reached out to the owner, Carl, to see what exactly happened. He said that Brown, through his father, was booked for the signing when Brown “had four home runs.” But now that Brown has quickly become an All-Star candidate, his father has voided the signed contract for the autograph session, which was originally scheduled to take place on July 15, the night of the Home Run Derby. Carl had offered to move the signing to July 29, an off-day for the Phillies, and for some time that seemed to be the target date. But this week, Brown’s father officially cancelled.
Carl said it had nothing to do with money – he says he offered Brown more (all profits from the event) – and instead hinted that the cancellation was a result of what happens when “modern day parents get involved.” He made it clear that his issue wasn’t with Brown, the player, who “used to handle his own stuff.”
Carl, through a business partner, had previously worked with Brown with no issue.
Carl’s Cards is offering a refund or credit on pre-sold tickets for the signing– they were expecting as many as 400 people. They don’t plan on taking the issue of the voided contract any further.
Shit happens with athletes and business, so this isn’t a huge deal. And the stories surrounding Brown are usually are quite positive. But this is a glimpse into what can happen when rapid success and parents cloud the judgement and decision-making abilities of young athletes. These signings aren’t just goodwill, either. Players get paid quite well (relative) for doing stuff like this, and it certainly doesn’t hurt their image. Canceling, and having a local shop make a stink about it on social media, however… well, it has the opposite effect.
[Full disclosure: Our long-time advertiser - Sports Vault - being a potential competitor of Carl's Cards had no impact on this post.]
H/T to reader Chris