Insiders say NFLPA will aggressively investigate the Rapper’s recruiting agency
“Show me the money!!!” -Tom Cruise, as a sports agent, in the movie, Jerry McGuire
Early in April of this year, a YouWager news source reported that rap star Jay-Z would soon be running a sports representation enterprise, named Roc Nation Sports. The management agency said it would also partner with one of Hollywood’s top agencies, CAA, the Creative Artist Agency, a company known for representing some of the world’s top movie stars, and artists, and a few, very special athletes.
To sign with Jay-Z’s company, Robinson Cano, a second baseman for the New York Yankees, parted with Scott Boras, a sports agent from an established sports agency. That appeared to be the first step, some online bettors thought, against the established order in the sports betting universe.
It was never a secret.
According to YouWager’s source, the open plan at Roc Nation Sports, all along, has been for Jay-Z to become certified as a legitimate sports agent in baseball, basketball, and football. To represent basketball players, Jay-Z will have to reduce his stake in the Brooklyn Nets, something he says he is already the process of doing.
While some Internet sportsbook bettors may not have been surprised to see the famous music star and entrepreneur ‘leverage’ his brand into the sports betting world, as a merger of entertainment and football, the move may actually be a natural transition in the realm of celebrity, as a profession, some seasoned football wagering experts at YouWager say. As sport figures become packaged celebrities, with several million involved in endorsements and appearance arrangements, the athletes, as products, could be the equivalent to movie stars in major Hollywood blockbusters.
In Hollywood, stardom happens fast.
But these rapid moves forward may be happening too fast for the NFLPA. It appears the NFL Players Association will not ignore what they see as a violation of the “runner” rule. Only NFLPA-certified agents are permitted to refer players to other NFLPA-certified agents. When Geno Smith suddenly went with Ken Miale, an NFLPA-certified agent that happens to work for Jay-Z’s firm, if Jay-Z introduced Smith to Miale, it could be a clear violation of this rule.
When Smith, the New York Jets second-round selection, told media outlets that he was leaving Jeff Nalley and Erik Burkhardt of Select Sports Group of Houston, Texas, for Roc Nation, he said it even made sense, geography-wise. Smith told YouWager’s source, “When you talk about being in New York, from the standpoint of what they can do in the city, I think it’s a good move.”
Where there is smoke, there are doubts. According to YouWager’s NFLPA insider, the organization believes that Miale may be the only certified agent in Jay-Z’s agency, and that raises questions for them. Miale was a civil litigator at Tucker, Heifetz & Saltzman, a firm in Boston, and he has never negotiated an NFL contract before. However, for a rookie, by the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement, experts at YouWager say there is less negotiation involved in the signing process. There are directions. As the 39th overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, Smith will sign a 4-year contract for nearly $5 million -with $3 million of that guaranteed. He will get a paltry $405,000 as a base salary in the 2013 NFL football wagering season, along with a signing bonus of $2,030,620.
Dropping a highly successful agency for its NFL players for a new group run by a hip-hop artist may sound like a show business move for the rookie QB, but Geno Smith dismisses such notions. He told YouWager’s source, “I’m strong in my faith, I know this isn’t because of an image thing or marketing myself. It’s more about being comfortable with the people representing me.”
Jay-Z, or Shawn Corey Knowles-Carter, as many of YouWager’s NFL football wagering fans know, is a rapper, a record producer, and businessman. The very enterprising Jay-Z owns the trendy 40/40 club, a portion of the Brooklyn Nets, a record company, a clothing line, and he holds the record for the most number one albums by a solo artist on the Billboard Hot 100. Last year, Forbes estimated Jay-Z’s net worth at around $500 million. Back in 2008, Jay-Z decided to share some of his considerable wealth, with a marriage to popular singer Beyoncé Knowles, a woman with incredible assets of her own. This year, Time magazine included her in their list of the 100 most influential people in the world. The couple has been listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the “highest-earning power couple.”
Meanwhile, according to YouWager’s source, the player’s union is determined to “get to the bottom of this situation.”