The NFLPA is looking into the question of whether Jay-Z recruited Jets quarterback Geno Smith to sign with Jay-Z’s firm, Roc Nation Sports. Specifically, the NFLPA wants to know if someone without NFLPA certification (i.e., Jay-Z) was involved in recruiting a player to sign with an NFLPA-certified agent (i.e., Kim Miale, who is employed by Jay-Z’s firm).
And so the player who apparently was recruited by Jay-Z is saying the predictable thing in the face of the probe.
“Jay-Z didn’t recruit me,” Jets quarterback Geno Smith said Thursday, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
So who recruited Smith then? Well, Smith didn’t say.
“I chose Roc Nation Sports for management because it was something that myself and my family came to a conclusion that we feel comfortable with,” Smith said. “And I’m happy to be a part of it. Here, I’m here to talk about football. That’s life outside of football, and what I do in this locker room and on that field is what matters now.”
Basically, Smith is saying he wasn’t recruited by Jay-Z (despite the picture with Jay-Z that Smith posted on Instagram), but Smith is avoiding the question of who actually recruited him and opting not to talk about anything other than football.
Someone from Roc Nation Sports recruited Smith. Someone from Roc Nation Sports met with Smith. Someone allowed Smith and his family to reach “a conclusion that we feel comfortable with,” especially since Smith met with multiple agencies before hiring Roc Nation Sports.
So who was that someone? Jay-Z? Miale? Someone else?
Smith may be able to avoid the questions posed by the media, but if he dances around those questions when talking to the NFLPA, the chances of getting the NFLPA to believe the perfunctory “Jay-Z didn’t recruit me” party line will be slim, at best.
And while that won’t result in any specific discipline for Smith or Jay-Z, it could make it hard for Miale to continue to represent Smith (or anyone else), and it could eventually prompt the NFLPA to prohibit certified agents from associating with Jay-Z.
None of this means that the “runner” rule should be applied to someone like Jay-Z. There are important philosophical questions raised by this situation, and while some agents merely resent the encroachment of Jay-Z on their turf, others want to know if it’s fair game to use celebrities as “closers” when pursuing clients.
Those questions will never be addressed in this specific case if the only question is whether Jay-Z, Smith, and Miale are trying to conceal what really happened from the NFLPA.