Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 21 No. 2

Labor and Agents

Liz Mullen
Editor's note: This story is revised from the print edition.

While former No. 1 men’s tennis player Andy Roddick has a new role as an analyst for Fox Sports 1’s news and highlight show “Fox Sports Live,” he also has new representation. WME quietly signed Roddick several months ago for representation in all areas and recently negotiated his deal with Fox.

At WME, Roddick will be represented by a team of agents led by Jill Smoller, who represents the top women’s tennis player in the world, Serena Williams.

Roddick was formerly represented by Lagardère Unlimited.

> NBPA AWAITING JAY-Z INFO: The National Basketball Players Association is still awaiting verification that Jay-Z has divested his small ownership stake in the Brooklyn Nets, Robert Gadson, NBPA director of agent administration and security, said last week.

In June, the NBPA agreed to certify Jay-Z to represent NBA players in contract talks with clubs, pending verification that he had divested his stake in the Nets. Two other Roc Nation Sports executives, president Juan Perez and vice president Rich Kleiman, are certified by the NBPA.

“He would be certified pending the documentation of his divestment in the Nets,” said Gadson of Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter. “Once we receive documentation, then he would be certified and then he would be able to represent players [in contract talks] with NBA teams.”
NBPA regulations do not allow individuals with ownership stakes in NBA clubs to be certified agents.
Roc Nation Sports officials did not respond to requests for comment. A Nets spokesman did not respond to an email for comment.

Jay-Z, Perez and Kleiman were certified in June by the MLB Players Association to represent MLB players in contract talks with clubs. The MLBPA has strict conflict-of-interest rules prohibiting agents from having an actual or perceived conflict in representation of players arising from ownership of teams or other business interests. Asked whether Jay-Z had provided proof to the baseball players union about divesting his interest in the Nets, Rick Shapiro, MLBPA senior adviser, who oversees agent administration, would only say, “We were satisfied with their answers to our questions regarding the Nets.”

Last week, the New York Post reported that Jay-Z will sell his less than 1 percent share to Nets head coach Jason Kidd.

> WASSERMAN SIGNS HEPTATHLETE: Wasserman Media Group has signed Morgan Lake, a 16-year-old British heptathlete, and has negotiated a two-year footwear and apparel deal for her with Nike.

Lake, who has excelled in the high jump for her age group in England, will be represented by Adam Phillips of the motorsports, action and Olympic sports division in Wasserman’s London office.

“She is super-talented and set to become the next Jessica Ennis-Hill of the U.K.,” Phillips said in a brief telephone interview from London.

Ennis-Hill won gold for England in the women’s heptathlon — a track and field contest made up of seven events — in the 2012 London Olympic Games. Lake is poised to compete in the Rio Olympics in 2016.

> FRENCH/WEST/VAUGHAN SIGNS TWO: French/West/Vaughan has signed Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins and Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Chris Canty for off-the-field work

French/West/Vaughan will represent Atkins in areas including broadcasting, marketing, speaking, community relations and public relations work. It will represent Canty for marketing; Maxx Sports & Entertainment represents Canty for broadcasting work.

French/West/Vaughan vice presidents and agents Jay Wisse and Hayes Grooms will represent Atkins and Canty. Wisse said the agency is in talks with media outlets about Atkins hosting radio programs during this NFL season, but declined to identify the media outlets.

NFL players have Tuesdays off, and a number of them have hosted radio shows during the season in recent years.

> CHAMPION SIGNS SAPP: Champion Pro Consulting Group signed New York Jets linebacker Ricky Sapp for representation. Carl Carey, Champion president, founder and agent, will represent him. Sapp was formerly represented by Relativity Sports.

Liz Mullen can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @SBJLizMullen.