Sources: NFLPA plans to aggressively pursue Jay-Z situation

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.

86 responses to “Sources: NFLPA plans to aggressively pursue Jay-Z situation

  1. I still feel strongly that they are going to have a hard time finding any evidence that proves Jay-Z made any recruiting efforts. If there is no signature by Jay-Z and no proven “intent to seek”, then you cannot qualify as having “recruited” by definition of the word. There is no law that can change the meaning of English words, and those are the top 2 definitions that come closest.

    You can’t get anything on Jay-Z without incontrovertible evidence which I doubt exists, the only way is for Jay-Z to admit that “intent to seek” and you can’t prove that he is lying if he denies it.

  2. A messy situation made even more messy with the fact that he FIRED a certified agent to go for the “bling”. But my question is this: Why doesn’t the NFLPA meet with draft-eligible players and explain the do’s and don’ts of hiring agents? Ignorance is no excuse, but there is no excuse to leave them ignorant.

  3. I battle of the people with to much money. Roc nation will win anyhow after seeing the NFL owners and commish walk all over De Smith and they made a fool of him.

  4. If Jay-Z ignored US sanctions on Cuba by vacationing there, why would this guy respect the NFLPA by taking the appropriate steps to make sure his people are certified to represent NFL players?

  5. Sounds like a bunch of old school agents don’t like Jay-Z playing in their sand box. Unfortunately for the establishment, being “cool” isn’t a crime and if young urban-centric players are influenced by Jay-Z’s notoriety than so be it.

  6. Like Jay said…

    Sure I do, I tell you the difference between me and them
    They tryin to get they ones, I’m tryin to get them M’s
    One million, two million, three million, four
    In just five years, forty million more……

    Jay-Z is coming for NFL money now!!!!!!!!

  7. I gotta give it to jay z he a smart business man. His rap career sucked in my eyes but has used that to spring board business success and can’t help but think he got his ends covered and going win this.

  8. Trusting a rapper with your athletic career.

    If Jet fans are looking for clues to the quality of Geno Smith’s decision making abilities…sorry: 0 for 1 so far.

  9. The NFLPA may be technically correct in this matter, but I fail to see the harm done. Players choose Jay-Z’s firm not just for their player contracts, which for a rookie like Geno Smith is determined by slot anyways, but also for his ability to get them endorsements. He is part of the package, so what’s wrong with them wanting to meet with him before committing their futures to his hands? It just seems like other agents are complaining because they are afraid of losing business. Besides, the whole thing can be resolved if Jay-Z just gets certified as an agent. The NFLPA should be focused on better things, like the fact that NFL owners openly admitted to practicing collusion to keep salaries down during the uncapped year, or setting up HGH testing

  10. Jay-Z is such a d-bag. He could have pulled the strings if he kept it from looking so obvious, but that’s not too appealing for an egomaniac. Gotta let everyone know that you’re such a baller. Especially when you look like a 60 year old woman.

  11. “De Smith doesn’t want to be made a fool of,” said one source, referring to the NFLPA’s executive director.

    Apparently they’ve not seen how things have gone with or since the new CBA…

  12. Mark Sanchez just let out huge sigh of relief. With this clown representing him Geno Smith will never find his way to Jets camp. Nothing gets the pub like a holdout in NYC.

    What was Smith’s wonderlic score again???

  13. Not a Jay-Z fan at all.
    I just wonder if this would be a non-issue if RGIII or Aaron Rodgers signed with him?

    If it’s Jet generated, it’s like the IRS scandal to some.

  14. This is nice analysis Florio. As a casual fan, this was way off my radar and there was no way I would have even been able to address the topic with some more of the ardent fans.

  15. should be interesting to see how soon this ‘agency’ acts like Scott Boras and tries to change the landscape. guarantee it will have no dealings with teams outside the top 10 markets

  16. If Smith were drafted by another team, it would be a ho-hum news item.

    Well, his body of work will surprise!!

  17. charliesez says:
    May 27, 2013 8:48 PM
    If Jay-Z ignored US sanctions on Cuba by vacationing there, why would this guy respect the NFLPA by taking the appropriate steps to make sure his people are certified to represent NFL players?
    —————————————————-
    Another moron who comments without doing his homework. The USA does not “SANCTION” it’s citizens nor prohibit them from visiting ANYWHERE. It advises against doing so, and you CANNOT visit Cuba from a USA flight, but you darn sure can fly from Mexico or anywhere else and Cuba will welcome you. I spent New Years In Havana, 1999. There are PLENTY of Americans there. Step your education up. Oh yea, PFT censor this…it’s your duty…memorial day.

  18. The perfect way for them to go after Jay Z for the whole Cuba thing. Yep, he then pissed somebody in a HIGH place off. Do your homework, he’s stepped on some HIGH UP toes.

  19. Some of the ignorant commenters don’t seem to understand that the rule that JZ needs to be certified to be an agent was put in place to protect the players from ignorant and unqualified people. JZ could easily remedy this in the long run by getting certified. But, I believe there is a rigorous test involved, so I hope he’s up for it

  20. You know, I hate Jay-Z’s music as much as the next guy…maybe more but Jay-Z ain’t Master P. The guy is a good business man and will probably beat this.

  21. De Smith should pursue this aggressively. After all, Jay-Z could probably negotiate a better deal for the players in a CBA than De Smith did. Better for De Smith to go after Jay-Z now before Jay-Z comes and takes De Smith’s job.

  22. The NFLPA better start investigating all agents then. We’re going by the letter of the rule right?

    You have to be totally naive to think this is only time that some non-certified agent played any role in recruiting a guy.

    Are you telling me large firms such as CAA which clients in all major sports league, movie, television and music industry never once used one of their other celebrity clients in a pitch?

    I guess this is more important for the NFLPA than doing things that would actually help the players.

  23. Smith isnt the first player to be represented by a rapper. Master P represented Ricky Williams and we all know how that turned out

  24. So if Peyton Manning spoke with Wes Welker and made an attempt to recruit him that would be considered breaking the rules? I mean, Peyton Manning isn’t certified or anything…

    This happens EVERY YEAR with every high-end FA. Good players get recruited by players. Fact.

    Honestly, this sounds like agents are getting really really upset with Jay-Z because he showed up and took that lunch money. Can’t blame em. They’re not going to win that case though.

  25. Hey Woody,
    You need to seriously consider jacking the roof of the J-E-T-S facilty up and replace everything underneath it with something new and shiny, toilet seats and people included.

  26. I’m confused by peoples’ disagreement with my prior comment. First, while I sided with the NFLPA during the lockout because I wanted to see football again, agents remain the worst people on the planet. The rule that was supposedly violated is obvious garbage – who is the NFLPA to make a rule that says that the owner of an agency can’t be a factor in a player signing with an agency? Second, Jay-Z has been winning these kinds of idiotic fights for 20 years. His tendency to prevail in these situations is a big part of why is he is someone in position to be in this position.

    I reiterate that I WANT to see the NFLPA take this one on the chin, and I fully EXPECT that they will.

  27. So basically the NFLPA is going to exhaust a lot of its resources to attempt to look like it does stuff but eventually fizzle on the ‘case’.

  28. If they get a full ride scholarship and don’t get a business degree so that hey can avoid giving a huge chunk of their money to an agent then who cares which hole they throw it in?

  29. Jay-Z is nothing more a leech! By the way for all you Jay-z fans, there is a requirement that ALL agents must have a college degree (BA/BS/MA/MS/PhD) they all work but he don’t have one!

  30. It does come off as other agents being jealous of losing business, but at the end of the day the agents/firm have to be certified. The NFLPA is putting up this fight so guys don’t get got for Millions like Ricky Williams did when he signed Master P & his firm No Limit Sports agency to represent him. Jay is a great artist & knows how to market HIMSELF but this business savvy nonsense people associate with him is a farce. His 2 night clubs were shut down, he took a loss on his vodka deal, he sold the clothing line after he cut out his partner, and he sold his 1% ownership of the Nets to start the sports agency. Which makes no sense when NFL/NBA teams basically print their own money…so where’s the savvy!?!

  31. Unions are one of the worst, most counterproductive organizations in this country. Where else do other people force you to join, extort money and at the same time force you to follow their political agenda while also having petty squabbles with others that oppose their “power”?

  32. “Jay-Z is such a d-bag. He could have pulled the strings if he kept it from looking so obvious, but that’s not too appealing for an egomaniac. Gotta let everyone know that you’re such a baller. Especially when you look like a 60 year old woman.”

    Closet racist much?

    Restated once more because everyone keeps saying “MASTER P!” – what happened with Ricky Williams 15 years ago is completely irrelevent. THAT is closet racism. just because they are both black rappers doesn’t mean the two have any relevence to each other whatsoever. being a rapper doesn’t make you a bad businessman, and if you look at the clothing, the other artists, all his work Kanye, his mastery of the tabloids and the handling of his daughter, his image and his presence in sports : Master P couldn’t hold Jigga’s jock, there is 0 comparison aside from stereotypes.

  33. So if Peyton Manning spoke with Wes Welker and made an attempt to recruit him that would be considered breaking the rules? I mean, Peyton Manning isn’t certified or anything…

    This happens EVERY YEAR with every high-end FA. Good players get recruited by players. Fact.

    Honestly, this sounds like agents are getting really really upset with Jay-Z because he showed up and took that lunch money. Can’t blame em. They’re not going to win that case though.

    —————————————
    Seriously that’s your argument comparing player recruitment! Think about this for a second Peyton manning is not handling any of the money going to Wes walker, he’s not going to get a percentage of welkers

  34. Not a big Jay Z fan, but I don’t see how it’s the right of the NFLPA to say who the guy can choose for his representation. They are certainly within their rights to choose whom they certify, say that those people meet our guidelines, and we’re comfortable they won’t rip you off, but if Smith chooses to ignore them, it’s his business afterall

  35. Its only a picture… How can you prove when & under what circumstances it was taken??

    Unless Miale is a girl scout good luck with getting any evidence.

    Hopefully Geno will keep his story straight unlike that knucklehead Thornton rep he was assigned. I wouldn’t be surprised if he actually was misquoted though.

    Welcome to New York!

  36. Jay-Z wouldn’t actually need to be involved in the recruiting for a player to wan’t to come on board with his firm.

    The agent would say that they work for Jay-Zs firm, and that if you do business with them, then you will have the full support of Jay-Z and his connections.

    Done Deal.

  37. Hate the rule. But still, it is the rule. So much like the theft of the obvious Calvin Johnson TD and the infamous “Tuck Rule” that saved Brady and the Pats from what we all know was a fumble, Geno and Jay Z will likely lose this one.

  38. raiderseliminatedfromplayoffsalready says:May 27, 2013 9:42 PM

    Another moron who comments without doing his homework. The USA does not “SANCTION” it’s citizens nor prohibit them from visiting ANYWHERE. It advises against doing so, and you CANNOT visit Cuba from a USA flight, but you darn sure can fly from Mexico or anywhere else and Cuba will welcome you. I spent New Years In Havana, 1999. There are PLENTY of Americans there. Step your education up. Oh yea, PFT censor this…it’s your duty…memorial day.
    ——–
    Actually, you are partially correct. It is not illegal to go to Cuba, but it is illegal to spend money there as we have a TRADE EMBARGO. Why do you think when you fly into Havana from Canada, Mexico, Panama, etc they do not stamp your passport and instead stamp a piece of paper of you choosing (if at all).

  39. Seems like Geno is bringing a bigger circus to the Jets than Tebow did. The dude has been the biggest clown of the draft so far.

    He needs to really think about why he wasn’t drafted in the 1st round. So far his professional decision making is petty lame without even taking a snap in the NFL.

  40. I could care less if/whether/when this guy becomes an agent.
    It’s the how. & what is his motive? Obviously, it’s money.
    If he really wanted to make a difference in players money, Jay would become a financial advisor not an agent.

  41. Remember the old saw about, “free enterprise” and “freedom of association”? Apparently that’s ok until you run up against the UNION who says who is in and who is out. I’m no fan of Jay-Z, but if Geno Smith wants to talk business with Jay-Z, why not? This isn’t college ball. The players here are all over 21(18 is the legal age). The actors union doesn’t have “approved” or “not approved” to the best of my knowledge. Geno Smith is the one who will pay the price for bad representation, so this one could easily end up in court where I think Jay-Z would have a good shot at winning. The more I read about the NFL and the union, the more it smells like Moscow, 1972.

  42. If the kid wants Jay Z to represent him than he should be allowed to. I thought we were living in America! I hope the NFLPA loses this fight I always love to see unions taking down a couple of pegs!

  43. Some of the ignorant commenters don’t seem to understand that the rule that JZ needs to be certified to be an agent was put in place to protect the players from ignorant and unqualified people. JZ could easily remedy this in the long run by getting certified. But, I believe there is a rigorous test involved, so I hope he’s up for it
    ————————————————————
    What are you talking about I have seen players that are represented by family members or they represent themselves. The NFLPA never goes after them for doing this. Don’t fool yourself about protecting the players this is all about control!

  44. So the NFL monopoly want to take away free will. If Geno Smith wants Jay-Z as an agent, what does it matter to the NFL? It’s not like Jay-Z is gonna go in with guns blazing and over-throw the dictator Goodell or Demaurice Smith.

  45. Talk about evidence lets start with the picture. And the poor jets they should just give up and join the arena league they are such a laughingstock.

  46. Hip hop has had a major influence on sports all over the planet for over two decades now. From the looks of the comments and the negative Co signs (thumbs up or down) seems like corporate America is afraid to see a man like Mr. Sean Carter, that came from nothing to more than something, come in to get some of that NFL money. Most of these owners of corporations at entrepreneurs, just like jay z that started out making money somewhere else.and took Their investments and put them into another merger to extend their worth. Not saying Jay has the best firm for sports but his company has done well with getting major corporations to partner with him for his other ventures.

  47. Clear example of special interests looking out for themselves. Dumb rule put in by Agents to protect agents.

  48. 305tillidie says: May 28, 2013 3:44 AM

    So many Jay Z stans on here.
    —————————————————————-

    “Jay-Z stans”? Why because we either like or support the music or artist??? So it’s okay to loooove the beetles or rolling stones or whatever but if I do so with Jay-Z I’m a “Stan”. Hmmmm.

    With all that being said, the NFL isn’t the other sports. They are serious about this sort of thing. You might be able to pass this on the MLB but not the NFL.

  49. This should be interesting.

    On one hand, you have De Smith—the man Pro Football Talk readers have sworn to hate at every turn.

    On the other hand, there’s Jay-Z, a man the Pro Football Talk readers aren’t really familiar with, but whose chosen profession and business acumen seem to make him just as “hateable.”

    Who will the readers side with on this one?

    On another note, why should there be any rules for “runners” in terms of choosing an agent? This ain’t college. These guys are free to choose and to be influenced by whomever they want.

  50. I said it early on and it’s looking like a better bet every day that Jay-Z will eventually be sued by his clients. They’re going to have sky-high expectations, he’s going to encourage them in that but not want to do any of the real work of being their agent, all the crucial details will be left to subordinates, and the players will end up blaming him for anything that turns out less than perfect.

    He’s in no hurry to get certified and can’t even follow the rather simply rules the NFLPA has in place. Can you imagine him working on the complexities of the salary cap during negotiations?

  51. All of you siding with Jay Z on this one, go back and read the new CBA. If you have access to it. If not, then you don’t have enough knowledge to make comments. And like Camel, enough letters behind your name. No one is above the law, or in this case, the CBA.

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