Miami Investigation

Allegations: Tavares Gooden

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Nevin Shapiro and a second source said this photo was taken in October 2003 at Japanese steakhouse Benihana, during a birthday celebration for Tavares Gooden. From left to right are Shapiro, Gooden (standing) and Devin Hester (seated). Shapiro and the second source said the booster paid the bill for this dinner.

Nevin Shapiro on Gooden: Play audio

Tavares Gooden was one of dozens of Hurricanes players named by Nevin Shapiro in recorded interviews with federal agents. During those interviews, the booster admitted supplying benefits to an array of Miami players from 2002 to 2010. Shapiro alleges he provided multiple extra benefits to Gooden during his career with the Hurricanes. Among the benefits he claims to have provided:

• Entertainment on Shapiro’s $1.6 million yacht and jet skis.

• A $7,500 Jacob the Jeweler watch from Buchwald Jewelers. According to summary documents acquired by Yahoo! Sports, Shapiro told federal agents in taped interviews about the purchase of this watch.

• A suit and assorted clothing for Gooden to wear when traveling with the team. Shapiro said he brought both Gooden and teammate Devin Hester to Shelly Bloom’s Fashion Clothiers in August 2005 and paid for assorted clothing for both players.

• A job with the Miami Beach Police Athletic League.

• Personal training from Shapiro’s trainer.

• A studio apartment at the Mirador condominiums in Miami Beach which Shapiro owned and let Gooden use for approximately one to two months.

• Drinks and VIP access at nightclubs on multiple occasions.

• Meals at Miami-area restaurants on multiple occasions.

• Drinks and VIP access in nightclubs on multiple occasions including a May 2005 event at Mansion nightclub featuring Jay Z.

Corroborating accounts

• Two sources corroborated Shapiro’s account of paying for drinks and VIP access for Gooden in nightclubs.

• Yahoo! Sports acquired a photo of Gooden in Japanese steakhouse Benihana, along with Shapiro and Devin Hester. Shapiro and a second source told Yahoo! Sports the photo was taken in October 2003 during a small birthday celebration for Gooden. Both Shapiro and the second source said the booster paid for the dinner.

• Yahoo! Sports also acquired a photo of Gooden on the back of the booster’s yacht, just prior to departure on a leisure trip that Shapiro said took place in the summer of 2004.

• Yahoo! Sports acquired Shapiro’s August 2005 Discover credit card statement, showing a $5,371.40 charge to Fashion Clothiers, on the date which Shapiro said he took Gooden and Hester to the retailer to purchase suits and other clothing.

• One source corroborated Shapiro entertaining Gooden with drinks and VIP access in nightclubs. One such incident included a May 2005 Mansion nightclub event featuring Jay Z. Yahoo! Sports also acquired Shapiro’s May 2005 credit card statement, showing a charge to Mansion nightclub on a day Jay Z performed at the club.

In Shapiro’s words

• “Tavares Gooden was one of my closest relationships over the course of nine years. He was one of my living scholarship players. We were always jet skiing. I bought him a $7,500 Jacob the Jeweler watch from Buchwald Jewelers.”

• “I took Tavares to Shelly Bloom’s Fashion Clothiers to get him some clothes to travel for the team. You know, traveling outfits. We remained friendly even when he went into the league. I also got him a job with the Miami Beach PAL [Police Athletic League]. … Tavares had a problem with his living arrangements. I gave him an apartment on Miami Beach to stay at for about a month, maybe two months at the Mirador.”

Nevin Shapiro said Gooden signed this photo for him in 2006. The inscription reads: “To Lil Luke, 1 of the 4 horseman [sic]. If it ain’t live, it ain’t me. – Tavares Gooden #52 Go Canes”
Nevin Shapiro said this photo was taken on the back of his $1.6 million yacht, prior to an evening leisure trip in the summer of 2004. On the left is Gooden, with Shapiro on the right.
Photos special to Yahoo! Sports


Nevin Shapiro’s cell phone providers condensed his calling records from 2002 to 2008 and deleted the booster’s text messaging records prior to 2009. Despite a significant portion of his records being expunged, Yahoo! Sports was able to identify 214 calls or texts between Shapiro and Tavares Gooden from 2004 to the booster’s incarceration in 2010. These are three pages showing communication between the booster and three phone numbers linked to Gooden. PDF file

This page from Shapiro’s August 2005 Discover credit card bill shows a charge of $5,371.40 to Fashion Clothiers, matching up with a date the booster says he took Devin Hester and Tavares Gooden to the shop to purchase suits and other assorted clothing. PDF file

This page from Shapiro’s May 2005 American Express black card statement shows a bill of $9,738 for Mansion nightclub on May 14, 2005. The booster identified the night as a Jay Z appearance at the nightclub, in which Shapiro hosted a large group of players in his VIP section and made “more than a dozen” bottles of champagne and multiple bottles of high-end liquor available in his section. One former Miami football player corroborated the event, including his attendance and that of several other players. Shapiro alleged a large contingent of Miami players partied in his VIP area, including Jon Beason, Tavares Gooden, Rocky McIntosh, Brian Monroe, James Bryant, Bryan Pata and Willie Williams. PDF file


Did not respond to phone messages.

Charles Robinson is the senior investigative reporter for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter. Send Charles a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Tuesday, Aug 16, 2011

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