There are two types of fans that want NHL players' autographs: Those that acquire them for a personal collection, and those that acquire them to sell them for profit.
(OK, there’s a third kind, which are fans that have players sign their body parts; my white whale is getting Jonathan Toews to actually sign my toes.)
“I don’t mind to sign for the real fans, but I hate those people who are making money on it,” Jagr told NJ.com. “They get autographs, then sell them for big money. They just make it bad for real fans.”
Jagr’s been dealing with this for years and never gets used to it. “I see those people, the same people who are signing for business and sometimes it’s ridiculous what they’ll do,” he said. “They’ll hire little kids. It’s a cheap way to use players to make money.
“Some people are real fans and want to get something signed, but others want to use you for their advantage. You tell them sometimes that you’re not signing for them, but they’re not embarrassed and they keep coming back. They’ve got the attitude. You throw them out the door, they come from the window.”
Climbing through windows! Violating child labor laws! Making it bad for real fans! Those savages …
I never begrudge autograph hounds that are looking to make a profit, because there is a sick level of dedication in their chosen side business. Would I wait eight hours at an airport hoping to track down some random player at an All-Star Game? Would I camp out outside of a hotel trying to get a VIP during the Stanley Cup Final, my back breaking slowly due to the overstuffed binders in my satchel? No and no.
But I also never begrudge an athlete like Jagr that can’t stand those profiteers. Although in Jagr’s case I suspect it’s partly due to not getting a percentage of said profit. Jaromir’s gotta eat, yo.