SBJ/June 3-9, 2013/Labor and Agents

MLBPA meets with Jay-Z, agency execs

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Jay-Z and two other Roc Nation Sports executives met last month in person with MLB Players Association officials at the union’s headquarters in midtown Manhattan regarding their applications to become certified to represent baseball players in talks with MLB clubs.

Jay-Z (whose real name is Shawn Carter), Roc Nation President Juan Perez and Roc Nation Vice President Rich Kleiman applied for MLBPA certification in April.

“We have met with them,” said Rick Shapiro, MLBPA senior adviser. “We have had some follow-up conversations. The review process remains under way.”

MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner will make the final decision on whether to grant Jay-Z, Perez and Kleiman certification to represent MLB players. “It is not at all unprecedented to meet with applicants,” Weiner said in an email last week. He declined further comment on the meeting.

A Roc Nation Sports spokesman declined to comment.

Roc Nation Sports launched April 1 and announced that it had signed New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano in partnership with CAA Sports as its first client. CAA Baseball co-head Brodie Van Wagenen is co-representing Cano and is certified by the MLBPA to represent him for on-field work. But Jay-Z, Perez and Kleiman have sought certification from the MLBPA — which, if granted, would allow them to represent Cano and other MLB players in playing-contract work.

Roc Nation has said it intends to be a full-service sports agency and that it would have its executives seek certification in all the major sports as well as hire established sports agents.

As of last week, the MLBPA was the only one of the four major sports unions where Jay-Z and other Roc Nation executives had applied for certification. The firm did, however, hire Kim Miale, an NFL Players Association-certified agent, to represent New York Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith in contract talks.

The NFLPA made an inquiry last week into whether Miale may have been party to a violation of an NFLPA regulation known as the “runner rule,” which prohibits people who are not certified agents from recruiting players for certified agents, sources said.

Asked, in a follow-up email, whether the NFLPA’s inquiry would affect the MLBPA’s decision on whether Roc Nation Sports executives would be certified, Shapiro wrote back, “Our regulations are different than those of the NFLPA and our certification process is independent.”

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