By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
Welcome to another edition of The Layup Drill. In this column, we look at the agent for Tom Brady and his new venture, a Seahawk coach leaves the team, and a Storm player gets injured in China.
Rocky Seto leaves Seahawks coaching post for ministry
The Seahawks made the playoffs for the fifth straight year. Although they did not make it to the Super Bowl, the team has been on a remarkable run of success. Rocky Seto has been a part of it as an assistant coach for the team. Seto has been a part of head coach Pete Carroll’s staff since the former University of Southern California (USC) coach came to Seattle. In fact, Seto, a former USC football player himself, was plucked from the school’s football staff by Carroll when he moved to Seattle. Seto joined the Seahawks as a quality control coach on defense in 2010 and then was promoted to assistant defensive backs coach, where he helped the likes of Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman. He was also the passing game coordinator and then became a defensive assistant head coach in 2015.
After the season, Seto decided to stop coaching and enter the ministry. Seto, a Christian, is married and has four children. His wife played soccer at USC, but was originally from Seattle. Seto, who is Japanese American, grew up in Los Angeles, where he went to high school and played junior college football, before transferring to USC as a walk-on to the football team. Seto obtained his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from USC and then a master’s in public administration. He was set to become a physical therapist when he was given the opportunity to become a volunteer assistant for the football team. He took the job in 1999 and spent the next 10 years as a coach for USC before heading to Seattle.
Don Yee, the agent for Tom Brady
Tom Brady pulled off the greatest comeback in NFL playoff history in Super Bowl 51. What is rarely discussed that his agent, Don Yee, is Chinese American. Yee also represents Patriots receiver Julian Edelman and New Orleans head coach Sean Payton, among others.
Yee’s name first surfaced during the “Deflategate” investigation of the Patriots quarterback. Brady was punished by the NFL for deflating footballs intentionally to give him an advantage when throwing them.
While the tactic may not have been a significant game changer, he was still punished by the league, which included a four-game suspension at the beginning of this year. Yee spoke out about the suspension on behalf of his client.
On an ESPN podcast last year, he noted that during “Deflategate,” he received some comments from detractors “that had problems with his ethnicity.” Yee has been a part of sports since the mid-1970s. He noted that over the years, he had to be “mindful of his ethnicity” in the sports business. “Either you get somewhat desensitized, which is kind of sad, or you sort of develop a kind of thick skin. Which also is kind of sad,” Yee explained. “Over the years, you help expand people’s thinking.” He noted that being Asian has hurt recruitment of certain Asian players. Yee stated that he believes that there may be a perception by Asian parents that an authority figure should be white. It has happened on a number of occasions.
Yee’s recruitment of Brady came during his senior year of college at Michigan. He does not know the real reason why Brady chose him of all the agents that were clamoring to represent the quarterback, although he was very clear about Brady’s abilities and his future career.
In addition to serving as Brady’s agent, Yee is launching a football developmental league which will be geared toward 18- to 21-year-old players who skip college to play professionally. Currently, rules dictate that a player must be three years removed from high school to play in the National Football League.
Players usually play college football and if they believe they are good enough, they can leave after their third year in college.
Yee has secured an investment group and looks to start the Pacific Pro Football league in the summer of 2018. The league would pay its players. While he realizes it is a risky venture to start a summer football league of relative unknowns, Yee believes that the vision of creating this league could be a success. A league adviser estimates that the cost could be between $5 million and $7 million to cover the costs of each team for just one season, not to mention an administrative office to run the league.
Yee went to UCLA and is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law. He teaches law classes at USC and is a Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law.
Stewart injures knee in Chinese League
Seattle Storm power forward Breanna Stewart suffered a sprained right knee, while playing for Shanghai in the Chinese basketball league. The injury won’t require surgery, although she flew back to the United States for rehabilitation and then returned for her team’s playoffs.
The 22-year-old had a busy 2016. Stewart was the first player chosen in last year’s Women’s National Basketball Association draft by the Storm. She had helped her alma mater, the University of Connecticut, to four straight national championships. In addition to helping the Storm make it back to the playoffs, Stewart won Rookie of the Year. She also earned a gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Brazil last August.
Stewart’s team finished second in the Chinese league and playoffs begin in early February. Stewart will have a couple weeks to rehabilitate her knee in the United States before she heads back to China for the playoffs. Hopefully, Stewart remains healthy for the Storm this summer when the season begins.
Jason can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.