(A letter from Jim Ackerman, parent of 8 year NFL veteran Tom Ackerman)
I originally met Cameron and Kenny in December of 1995 at my son’s college. My son played center at Eastern Washington University and had set up a meeting for us all to sit down and meet to discuss his future in the NFL and their sports management group.
It was many years ago, but what I remember most is that they were both real down to earth kind of guys. They educated me as to what we can expect in the upcoming months leading into the 1996 NFL draft. Although the ultimate decision in choosing Tom’s agent was his, I was happy when he selected Foster & Easley. What I didn’t expect was the friendship not only between Tom and his agents, but with myself and my son’s agents. I say myself because I am one of those father types that really loves his son and wants to do all I can, sometimes to much, to be sure he is OK. Cameron was wonderful in the since that he would call me to keep me informed on Tom’s playing, contract status, and issues he thought I should be aware of in Tom’s life. For a couple years there it seemed like I talked more to Cameron then I did to my own son. If I had a concern or thought that I wanted to pass along, I always new that Cameron would be there to listen and advise me.
My son had what I considered a very successful NFL career playing 6 years with the New Orleans Saints and his final 2 years with the Tennessee Titans. Over these 8 years in the League, I noticed Tom and Cameron creating a genuine friendship that is just as strong today as it was when Tom was playing.
During Tom’s playing years, Cameron created the Ack for Kids Foundation (Tom Ackerman) and put on at least 5 celebrity annual golf tournaments, sports auctions and dinners here in our hometown of Nooksack, Washington. These events brought NFL talent to this sleepy little town near Bellingham, Washington, to the likes never seen before. The town helped out with corporate sponsors and the event was one that the community looked forward to year after year. The proceeds of the events went to local non-profit organizations such as the Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Clubs and other local Bellingham, Nooksack and Lynden area children or schools that could use a little financial assistance. These events that Cameron produced and ran were amazing. Our community came together and supported Tom and his foundation. I would strongly encourage any parent out there to be sure to encourage their child to do similar events. It helps them realize they can really make a difference off the field in this short window of celebrity time they have.
When it came time for Tom’s younger brother to select an agent, it wasn’t a difficult choice; maybe there wasn’t even a choice. Tom’s younger brother, TJ, also hired Foster & Easley to assist him with his professional football representation which landed TJ in the Canadian Football League. There have been some great highs in Tom’s NFL career, and there have been some tremendous lows with Tom and his personal life towards the end of his career. One thing that was constant was Cameron being on the end of a phone line taking Tom’s and my questions and always being there to help out and assist…or just be there for Tom to talk with.
It has been five years since Tom has played football but what I can tell, is that Cameron and Tom’s friendship is just as strong today, if not stronger, then as it was when Tom was playing football.
To me, the bottom line for a parent should be…when you are helping your child wade through the sea of agents out there, be sure the agent truly gives a damn. Be sure that your agent will have the time to be with your son through thick and thin. The fact that Cameron limits the number of clients he represents to be sure he has the time to take care of each of his clients, like Tom, is so important. One thing I can state without hesitation, is that Cameron and his sports management company was there for not only Tom, but for me. He still is there for me. I think the last time I called him a couple weeks ago Cameron asked if I would be willing to write a little something about our relationship. I was honored that Cameron would ask me…and I hope this letter helps parents see a part of Cameron and Foster & Easley Sports you may not have seen yet.
To a parent reading this, Cameron gives a damn…both on and off the field about his players….my son, even after their football careers are over. That is key and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Please feel free to call me if you have any further questions about Foster & Easley Sports Management Group.
Jim Ackerman (360)354-4242