Former Houston officer helps pro teams avoid troubled players
HOUSTON – Ray Rice. Johnny Manziel. Aaron Hernandez. All football giants who've landed on the front page for their behavior off the field. They've made the kind of headlines NFL teams don't want. That's where Chris Sanchez comes in.
"We're helping sports teams manage and mitigate their risks," Sanchez said.
He's a former Houston police officer and Secret Service Agent who spent two years providing security detail for President George W. Bush, as well as two years protecting President Barack Obama.
Today, Sanchez protects professional sports teams.
He works for accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers in its Sports Intelligence division—helping teams avoid draft picks with shady backgrounds.
"We understand that you're making an investment in these athletes that's millions upon millions of dollars. OK? But ultimately you're protecting the brand of the company or the brand of the franchise. That's worth billions of dollars," Sanchez said.
Sanchez and his team conducts extensive criminal background checks on players before they're ever drafted. He digs deep into social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and checks to see what fans are saying about a player.
Did you know that people are talking about your player from a forum perspective or different blogs? Have you looked at those aspects as well because they could put or provide more insight of what's being said about your player
Sanchez wouldn't tell us which teams he's working for right now -- or which players he's investigated.
But you can be sure what he's dug up on athletes across the country is affecting who makes it on to the field.
Has any of the work his team has done ever had any measurable repercussions?
"The team had a draft pick they were looking at high on their draft list and as we were going through our risk assessment with this team, there again, no red flags on the individual until we reached their social media," Sanchez said.
He continued, “Based on the social media and the racial insensitivities that were in there, they decided to pass on the individual.”
It's a good lesson for high school kids with their eyes on the professional leagues.
Kids like DeShun Qualls—quarterback of the football team at Jersey Village High School.
"Anything that I don't want my mom or dad to see, I don't want recruiters to see that neither. So, I don't put that out there for them to see," DeShun said.
DeShun's mother calls him the “Twitter Police” because he constantly monitors his friends' social media pages and tells them to delete any inappropriate tweets or posts they send out.
DeShun is on his way to Abilene Christian University on a full-ride.
He says his coach taught him to keep his online image clean.
"I knew that recruiters were following me, I knew not to tweet anything inappropriate."
Sanchez offers this advice for parents with a child who has hopes of reaching super stardom—start crafting their social media image now.
For the students, Sanchez offers this advice.
"If you're at a party and you know there's cameras, there's pictures, there's videos going on and you're holding a glass," Sanchez said. "And there's a picture that you're about to take, put that glass down. Make sure to ask yourself questions. Is this going to influence anything that I may do in the future? Is this going to hurt anybody? Am I making fun of anybody? Am I using any type of racial comments or derogatory comments. So check it, check it twice, check it a third time."
The final tip Sanchez offers is for the player to take themselves off social media all together. Extreme, yes. So, if that's not an option, Sanchez suggests hiring a PR firm to handle the player's social media accounts.
Or, you can do what DeShun did: Let mom run your Facebook page.