Identity theft: it’s one of the biggest bogeymen in 21st century America. And hey, why not? The last thing you want is your credit rating destroyed by some stranger in Detroit or some other third-world country. If you’re going to have a crappy credit rating, it had better be on your own terms, damn it.
But it’s generally thought that the people who would stoop to identity theft are common thieves, people who have lousy credit of their own and little else to show for themselves. You know, strangers and deadbeat relatives. You certainly wouldn’t expect, say… the president of your own union.
But that’s exactly the case with the NFL, of all places. According to SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY, longtime Philadelphia Eagle (and former NFLPA player representative) Troy Vincent and business partner Mark Mangum are in hot water for compromising the identity of players for fun and profit:
The NFLPA earlier this year disclosed that former President Troy Vincent had compromised the personal information of players agents in December ‘07 by sending them to his business partner Mark Mangum.
But according to the discrimination lawsuit filed by Moran, an investigation undertaken by NFLPA director of security Tim Christine “uncovered … that Vincent had illegally released social security numbers and banking information of the players, agents and financial advisers to Mr. Mangum, his business associate, for their personal financial gain and the gain of their financial services company, Eltekon.” The NFLPA had no immediate comment.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. You’re not allowed to take a bunch of millionaires’ bank accounts and social security numbers and share them for your own personal gain? I thought this was America! Land of the free! This impinges on my freedom! Time to yell at some more town halls! GIVE ME BACK MY AMERICA!
But seriously, isn’t this about the shadiest thing a player representative can do? It’s one thing to sell out to the owners in a labor dispute, but even that’s not nearly as underhanded as selling the players’ bank information, right?
Bowing to the owners is a poor execution of the official duties of the role, after all but it’s still part of the normal duties of being union president. The security of the players’ personal information, though, is so assumed to be protected that a case like this seems every bit as bewildering as objectionable. Like… who does that?
Then there’s this:
The data breach was portrayed by [Vincent’s] supporters as an innocent error. But the lawsuit portrays it as illicit and said [NFLPA Director of Security Tim] Christine uncovered “50 potential illegal activities of Mr. Vincent.” The lawsuit alleges the data breach violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Okay, to be fair, there’s a substantial difference between “50 illegal activities” and “50 potential illegal activities,” and we ought not lose sight of that distinction. Still, that many yellow flags is enough to warrant the assumption that this was a pattern of misbehavior.
We’re still waiting on Vincent and Mangum’s official responses to these charges; based on what’s laid out by the SBD, they’ve got a lot of serious questions to answer.