NFLPA to look into Roc Nationís recruitment of Geno Smith
The latest headline concerning Smith doesn’t arise from the rumors (whether there’s any truth to them or not) surrounding the rookie’s potential to replace quarterback Mark Sanchez at the starting spot in New York. But it stems from the recruitment of Smith by the Roc Nation. According to reports, Smith fired his former agents shortly after dropping to the 39th overall spot in the draft after he’d been told he would likely be taken in the first-round. The plot thickened when he signed with Roc Nation, a sports agency led by entertainer Jay-Z that has been in existence for all but a short period. That recruitment process has raised several questions as critics wonder if any violations of the league’s policy were committed in the way the business was handled.
The NFLPA has launched an investigation into Roc Nation’s recruitment of Smith and Jay-Z’s role in helping the sports agency lock the player. The NFLPA plans on sending a letter of inquiry to Roc Nation Sports agent Kim Milale, who is Geno Smith’s current agent, to gather more information on Jay-Z’s involvement in recruiting Smith.
Jay-Z’s potential involvement in Smith’s decision to opt for the agency for representation could be in violation of the “runner rule.” The recently instituted rule prohibits agents from having friends or colleagues who aren’t NFLPA certified present during the process of recruiting athletes for the agencies.
The issue came into public light earlier this week after Smith’s advisor John Thorton was quoted by CBS saying “It really all came down to who he was most comfortable with. I was in those meetings, and Jay-Z connected with him on many levels." But since, Thorton has claimed he was misquoted.
Then there was Smith’s instagram picture with Jay-Z himself which only fed further fuel to the fire. According to NFLPA records, Smith is Kim Milale’s third client, right behind NFL linebacker Brandon Hicks and Arena Football League kicker Carlos Martinez.
The NFLPA also previously sent a letter of inquiry to CAA agent Tom Condon after he signed New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, who opted for Roc Nation for his marketing. Both agencies are on partnership in sports other than football, though it runner rule can make such an association somewhat of an issue. However, the NFLPA did not find any violations by Condon.