Problem No. 100 is coming soon for Jay-Z.
Amid speculation that the NFLPA will find a way to look the other way when it comes to Jay-Z’s involvement in representing players, multiple sources with knowledge of the union’s thinking tell PFT that the Players Association intends to proceed aggressively against any potential violations of the so-called “runner” rule committed by Jay-Z, Roc Nation, and/or NFLPA-certified agent Kim Miale.
The situation is being taken “really seriously,” one source said. Another source explained that the union has no choice but to act in response to flagrant flouting of the rules behind a clumsily-veiled curtain that includes people like Geno Smith advisor John Thornton giving an on-the-record quote and then insisting he was misquoted, and Smith posting on social media a photo of himself with Jay-Z.
“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.
The timetable for action isn’t clear. Given the union’s desire to get to the bottom of this situation, expect something to happen very soon.