I’m going five years back in time to write this article, but I think self-reflection is necessary if you’re truly to learn from your past. The motivation for this article arose from a portion of Desktop Bodybuilding’s coverage of the break between Fouad Abiad/Hosstile Supps and Justin Shier. Apparently, per Xavier Wills, Hosstile Supplements forbids its athletes from doing media at Desktop Bodybuilding. If true, this could be for a number of reasons, most notably that Desktop Bodybuilding is rival venture to BroChat, which Abiad spearheads. It’s possible that by signing to Hosstile that athletes are signing away far more rights than simply working with a supplement sponsor. There’s nothing wrong with that provided that both parties to the contract mutually assent. That being said, Wills goes onto say that he doesn’t actually believe that HS forbids its athletes from appearing on DB, but then backtracks, leave the question open, and then speculates about the company’s contractual stipulations. He sums it up by saying that, if anything, it’s ‘very hard’ to get Hosstile athletes on. Whatever the case may be, I’d like to talk about contracts and media restraints from back when I was running the social media and content creation for IronMag Labs from 2017-18. My actual title was Marketing Director, but my job was more that of Athlete Relations, Social Media Manager, and some contest coverage.
Now to be totally transparent, I took a little break to make a video to accompany this article, and in so doing I stumbled upon the realization that contracts in bodybuilding – need to make sense. That’s pretty nonsensical, right? But my initial motivation in writing this article was to argue against my 2017-18 position based on the inspiration that sparked in me watching Desktop’s coverage. That being said, if you own a business you have to do right by it. And this is where the lines get blurred because I think when Fouad breaks with an athlete he has the intention of remaining friends and continuing to have them on the podcast, but things change quickly afterwards. Once that sponsorship link is broken people change. One party might be left with a bad taste in their mouth while the other is all about turning the page. Changed circumstances don’t make someone disingenuous.
I’d also like to say that if in fact Fouad is in fact offering athletes five year contracts that that also raises red flags. If we’re talking about a highly restrictive contract where the money isn’t anything but absolutely fantastic, then good luck keeping a top tier pro bodybuilder locked in for one – let alone five – years! This is an industry where poaching is extremely common. Other companies may stop just short of stealing athletes but are constantly in the DM’s with compliments, suggestive messages, and passing along information that more or less puts the idea in the mind of athletes should they ever want to jump ship from their current spots. For example, if company owner tells an athlete they’re trying to lure over that they’re going to let people go, that suggests they will have openings on the roster. If they say things like “if only I could get athlete like you, I’d pay them hand over fist.” That’s not poaching, but it’s not far from it. You get a guy on a 5yr deal making decent money, but not much more than that, and frustration sets in – it’s game over. A five year deal seems absurd and a little desperate if you want my honest opinion. Go with 1yr and if things are good, offer to re-sign. That’s how good business is done.