Jay-Z is doing some serious irking in 2013. In April, he survived Senator Marco Rubio calling for investigations into his trip to Cuba and in the process made a punch line out of Congress. For his encore, he's now pushing the buttons of the NFLPA, which turned its attention to the controversial relationship between Roc Nation Sports and Jay-Z’s interaction with potential clients like Victor Cruz and Geno Smith.
Though the NFL's rule change affecting NFL running backs lowering their heads outside the tackle box was the talk of the league early in the offseason, the NFLPA's newly-instituted "runner rule" has inspired the most offseason headlines. Since last June, the “runner” rule has banned individuals without appropriate credentials from recruiting clients.
Jay-Z's been wise enough to avoid commenting on the details of his involvement with Roc Nation Sports, however, a photo he took with Geno Smith and comments by Smith's adviser John Thornton, have Jay-Z and Roc Nation Sports’ NFL-certified agent, Kim Miale in some hot water.
Thornton told CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora that Smith and Jay-Z connected on many levels during recent meetings. However, if those meetings did occur, it would violate the NFLPA's "runner" rule. Since then, Thornton has claimed he was misquoted, and a Roc Nation representative has countered those claims by noting that Jay-Z was in London at the time of those meetings, but the damage has been done.
Via Pro Football Talk:
“De Smith doesn’t want to be made a fool of,” said one source, referring to the NFLPA’s executive director. More importantly, the union believes there must be respect for the system and the rules. Without action, the NFLPA believes that it will lose credibility.
The applicable rule is simple. Only NFLPA-certified agents may be involved in recruiting players to sign with an NFLPA-certified agent. In this specific case, Smith chose a previously unknown agent (Miale) over a group of experienced agents. Miale happens to be employed by Jay-Z’s firm, and the circumstances suggest that Jay-Z was involved in some way in persuading Smith to hire Miale.
As we’ve previously explained, the NFLPA has no jurisdiction over Jay-Z because he’s not certified to represent players. Miale could end up being the sacrificial lamb, and whatever happens to her could end up being the warning to any other agents who would serve as the straw man (or woman) for Jay-Z’s effort to represent players both for marketing and for their football contracts absent the appropriate certification to do the latter.
When Jay-Z envisioned his agency’s role, he probably envisioned Jerry Maguire instead of getting treated like the NFL’s Al Capone, but at least this way he'll have some more material for a new track.