SBD/May 24, 2013/Labor and Agents

Agents See Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports As A "Legitimate Threat" To Losing Clients

Some agents have been unhappy with unhappy with Jay-Z, calling him a "runner"
With the launch of Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports, other agents "suddenly faced the prospect of losing clients to one of the biggest entertainers in the world," according to Chris Strauss of USA TODAY. Maxx Sports & Entertainment Founder Mark Lepselter said, "Agents are going to be terrified of Jay-Z. He'll be a legitimate threat." But MLB agent Scott Boras is "critical of the whole endeavor." He said, "This is a profession. It's a different environment. If you're not singularly committed to this game, it's a very ugly song." Strauss notes that is "going to be a tough argument to make to rookies or younger players trying to make a name for themselves off the field." Former NFLer Trevor Pryce said, "It's the rock-star thing. I'd say probably 70% of all athletes in America would sign with Jay-Z. It has nothing to do with business." Strauss notes while the company is "in its early stages, Jay-Z seems to be following the model of building a stable of athletes much like" Jordan Brand did. It "selected a team of marketable personalities from various sports who seem to exude a similar cachet as Michael Jordan." A source said that many players "rushed to Jay-Z after the announcement expressing interest in signing on." The source added that nearly all of the players "were turned away, as Roc Nation Sports is taking a more selective approach." How Jay-Z's involvement will "mesh with existing league rules regarding agents remains to be seen." Jay-Z is not certified by the NFLPA, and agents have been "furious with Jay-Z's role in recruiting" Jets QB Geno Smith and Giants WR Victor Cruz. The NFLPA's "runner rule" dictates that "only certified agents can recruit players." But a source said that the agency "checked with the union before CAA's Tom Condon signed Cruz." The source added that the union told Condon that Jay-Z "wasn't a runner because of a longstanding relationship between the parties" (USA TODAY, 5/24).
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