NFL investigating Jay-Z's sports agency, Geno Smith
NFL, Geno Smith

NFL investigating Jay-Z's sports agency over alleged Geno Smith recruitment violations

5/30/13 in NFL   |   JoeKukura   |   491 respect

Blog Photo - NFL investigating Jay-Z's sports agency, Geno SmithDark clouds of all-black everything are beginning to form around hip-hop superstar Jay-Z's fledgling sports agency, Roc Nation. The NFL Players Association has launched an investigation into Roc Nation over possible recruitment violations with their latest (and only) NFL player, Geno Smith. The NFLPA alleges that Roc Nation recruited Smith to their stable of clients via a non-certified agent -- a violation of NFLPA rules.

Their evidence is kind of convincing -- the photo (at right) which Geno Smith himself posted on Instagram for the entire world to see. You might recognize the Jigga Man seated alongside Smith. Jay-Z is not a certified NFLPA agent, yet Smith signed with Roc Nation seven days after this Geno Smith-Jay-Z pow-wow.

And now Jay-Z's Roc Nation is under investigation for their recruitment of Geno Smith. The NFLPA (and not the league itself) is reportedly investigating whether Smith was recruited by a non-certified agent, i.e. Hova. Only NFLPA-certified agents may recruit players to agencies. The NFLPA investigation is only in the "stern letter" phase, but things could escalate to fines, sanctions, or even disbarment.

Blog Photo - NFL investigating Jay-Z's sports agency, Geno SmithGeno Smith signed with Roc Nation on May 22. Smith's Roc Nation agent is Ms. Kim Miale, whom you see there to the right. She is very attractive, and she looks about 22 years old (she's actually 33). She will negotiate Smith's first NFL contract, though she has never negotiated an NFL contract before. Surely she's a capable legal mind, having served as a clerk in the Connecticut Superior Court and currently as an associate attorney at a pretty competent-looking insurance law firm.

My point is not to question Ms. Miale's credentials. My point is to question whether the Roc Nation sports agency understands the NFLPA policy under which it is operating. Smith's Instagram picture does indeed indicate Smith was recruited improperly -- only Ms. Miale would have been authroized to recruit Smith to Roc Nation.

Ex-lawyer Mike Florio puts it best over at Pro Football Talk. "[Jay-Z is] not certified by the NFLPA to represent players for the purposes of negotiating football contracts, he can have no role in recruiting players to hire Roc Nation to negotiate their football contracts," Florio writes. "So if Smith hires Roc Nation for both marketing and football representation, plenty of other agents will cry foul regarding Jay-Z’s perceived role as the closer."

Smith is the only NFL athlete whom Roc Nation represents in contract negotiations. Roc Nation also represents New York Yankees infielder Robinson Cano and Tulsa Shock point guard Skylar Diggins. Roc Nation additionally claims New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz, though solely for Cruz' marketing efforts.

The investigation is surely the wrong foot on which to start for Roc Nation's NFL player representation enterprise. Should Roc Nation be sanctioned, it will undermine the credibility of Jay-Z's sports agency efforts. And you can ask Ricky Williams how well it went back when he hired Master P as his agent in 1999.
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