Keith Hernandez lives in Maryland. There, you won’t find many bookies, and definitely no one will want to risk a booking on a Sunday. Yet, despite the state’s sports betting ban, Keith hasn’t lost his love for betting. He just happens to follow the rules of the state, ensuring he keeps his job, and avoids any trouble.
This week on the Handheld Fanatic, we’re going to take a closer look at how the Hall of Fame quarterback lives his life, and how you can follow his lead and enjoy a legal career, or a side hobby, in Maryland.
The QB’s Life In Maryland
The first thing you’ll notice about Keith is how he blends into the woodwork. He doesn’t stand out. In fact, when you see him on the street, you might not even realize that he’s famous. He’s just another working class, blue-collar guy who happens to play football.
Even though he’s not the most handsome man in the world, Keith has a unique charm that makes him memorable. In an era where fame and fortune come with a price tag, Keith has managed to keep a normal, unassuming life. He grew up in Queens, New York and played college football at the University of Maryland.
After college, Keith found himself in the pros. He was the No. 1 pick in the 1983 NFL Draft, and spent the majority of his career with the New York Giants. Overall, he played 10 seasons in the NFL, and was selected to three Pro Bowls. During that time, he threw for over 22,000 yards and 150 touchdowns. He retired in 1993. Ever since, he’s lived a normal life, spending his time with his family and caring for his children’s’ as though he never left the professional football world.
In 2014, after some health issues forced him to retire early, Keith decided to make a comeback. He enrolled in the University of Maryland’s sports management program and completed the necessary paperwork to register as a sports agent. This officially made him “El General”, or General Manager for the school’s football program. Keith then began looking for clients, heading up seminars, helping players find representation, and working with coaches on contract negotiation. In 2018, Keith’s first client was Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins. The following year, he obtained the services of former New York Giant Amani Toomer. Both players enjoyed successful professional careers, playing for the New York Jets and Los Angeles Rams respectively.
In addition to being a sports agent, Keith is also registered as a lobbyist in Maryland. He spends his time working on behalf of his clients, meeting with government officials to discuss the impact that sports wagering has on the state. At this point, Keith is representing several well-known athletes. He’s been quoted as saying: “I get five or six calls a week from professional football players who are interested in getting into the sports wagering business. I’ve had an opportunity to educate them on the dangers of sports wagering and the ways in which I can help protect their interests as an athlete or an entertainer.”
The Danger of Sports Wagering
With all the benefits that come with being a professional athlete, there’s also a lot of risk associated with it. One of the main dangers is the possibility of being lured into gambling. While it’s not a physically dangerous activity, there’s always a chance that someone could twist your arm, or offer you a lucrative deal, to get you to throw a game. There are also the “nuisance” bets, where someone places a wager on a minor sporting event, just to annoy/bully you into throwing a game. Finally, there’s always the temptation to go all-in, and place bets with bookmakers who offer the best odds, only to lose everything if your team loses the game.
Keith knows all of this too well. In 2014, he was arrested for the first time in 22 years. While on a trip to South Carolina, he was pulled over for a broken taillight. During the stop, state troopers discovered cocaine, drug paraphernalia, and nearly two thousand dollars in bets. The charges were later dropped, but it wasn’t the first time Keith had been arrested for drug possession. Back in 1991, he was arrested for possession of ecstasy and cocaine. He served seven years in prison and has been in rehab a few times, suffering from addiction. He’s been clean for nearly 20 years, and credits his two children, as well as religion, for helping him stay sober.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, or is concerned about the possibility of becoming involved in illegal gambling, the best thing you can do is be there for them. Let them know that you’re always available to talk, and that you’re willing to listen. If they want to talk about addiction, or need help with finding a treatment program, don’t hesitate to offer your assistance. Drug addiction is a chronic disease, and it takes a while to recover. However, with adequate care and treatment, as Keith has found, it’s possible to live a normal life again.
Keith is a living example that you don’t have to be a professional athlete to overcome your disabilities. You just need to want it enough, and believe in yourself. Keith has proven that it’s possible to have a successful career in the sports industry, helping others along the way, like his former college coach, Maryland head coach, and current team GM, Gary Stills. In an interview with ESPN, Stills said: “He has a remarkable work ethic and is one of the hardest-working people I’ve ever been around. It wouldn’t surprise me if he has a job until he’s 55. He truly is a testament to what can be achieved when you put your mind to it and believe in yourself.”
Hernandez, who is now 59 years old, continues to work in the sports industry, helping develop football players, and advising teams on contract negotiations and free agency. His clients include former NFL players Fred Biletnikoff, Jim Kiick, and Jim Thorpe. He also gets invited to the White House on a fairly regular basis. While most people his age might be looking for a life of leisure, and perhaps even an eventual retirement, Keith is still out there, helping others, going about his daily routine, working hard to ensure that he continues to provide for his family.
If you’re interested in following in the footsteps of an extraordinary man like Keith, the first thing you’ll need to do is obtain a law degree. The next step is to become a licensed attorney, and from there, you can begin looking for work in state agencies, working with lobbyists to protect the interests of your clients, or start your own firm. If you have a specific area of law that you’d like to focus on, you can also become a board-certified specialist. There are many options available to you, depending on what you want to do. You can even decide to stay in sports law, and work for a firm that represents professional athletes. Regardless, a legal career or a side hobby in sports law is a possibility for anyone who is willing to make the necessary effort.