Sport agent’s $8m fall from grace
Ricky Nixon was at one point the most high-profiled agent in Australia.
The top dog in the player market, Nixon had the biggest stars under the umbrella of his agency Flying Start and was able to work wonders by getting his clients out of any trouble they landed in.
Nixon even once told the bosses at the AFL "I run the competition, not you", after being called in for suspect workings to land the stars even more money.
But after finding ways out of every dark story for his clients, it was his own scandal that brought about his undoing back in 2011 when a video emerged of him in his underwear in a hotel room with the schoolgirl behind the St Kilda nude photo scandal.
In the end it cost Nixon everything. From his business and $8 million to his marriage falling apart and being deregistered by the AFL for two years as an agent.
"I won't go into huge detail here, but I went into a hotel room and I shouldn't have," Nixon told the Herald Sun's Sacked podcast.
"I shouldn't have done it. My (ex) wife has never asked me what I did wrong. She just said, 'You stuffed up Ricky, do something about it'."
Despite that scandal almost nine years ago, it was a moment in 2008 that rocked Nixon to the core and sent him in a downward spiral.
Broadcaster Clinton Grybas' death on January 5, 2008, at the age of 32 shocked the football community and left many reeling, none more so than Nixon who quickly fell into alcohol and drug addiction.
"It's not an excuse," he said. "But it changed my life forever. You can talk about hotel rooms and girls … that's not what happened.
"That's not where it started.
"(After Grybas' death) I started drinking, I had never done drugs in my life. I started doing cocaine, and I got addicted.
"I had got to a point where I was working seven days a week, 15 hour days. I wasn't watching my sons play footy. I was going to eight games of footy every weekend. I felt that I just didn't show (Grybas) the respect or management, I suppose."
With his life spiralling out of control, Nixon refused to reach out of accept help from anyone willing to offer it. But he says one phone call saved his life and put him on the path to recovery.
"I had 347 missed calls that day. I got this call from Peter (Moore) and when I think back (I wonder), 'Why did I answer it?'
"I will tell you why, because he was above me.
"I was told in no uncertain terms by Peter Moore, 'You've got to make a decision, Rick, what's more important, your kids or the drugs?'.
"Peter changed me that day, he sent me to a doctor and I got out of denial."
Asked if Moore's call saved his life, Nixon insisted: "Absolutely."
Nixon was as sought after as any agent in the history of the game for his ability to line the pockets of his clients with more money than they'd every dreamt of.
A stunning move implemented by Nixon saw him bend the salary cap rules and land North Melbourne superstar Wayne Carey an extraordinary payday on top of his salary.
"So I requested Wayne's intellectual property and it was owned by Wayne Carey Ptd Ltd and he licenced it to me for $2 so I could sell it to North Melbourne for marketing rights of $700,000.
"He was getting paid $300,000 from North Melbourne and $700,000 went to me and I gave Wayne $400,000. People said it was cheating, but it was absolutely within the rules.
"They brought me into AFL House and said, 'You can't do this', and I said, 'I run the competition, not you'."
Originally published as Sport agent's $8m fall from grace