As Jay-Z continues his assault on the sports agent industry, with new reports linking him to NBA star Kevin Durant, the entertainment mogul’s Roc Nation Sports spent time Wednesday dealing with questions regarding the recruitment of Jets quarterback Geno Smith.
According to Albert Breer of NFL Network, representatives of Roc Nation met with NFLPA officials in Washington to discuss the role, if any, that Jay-Z had in persuading Smith to sign with Roc Nation employee Kim Miale, an NFLPA-certified agent.
Because Jay-Z does not hold NFLPA certification, he technically can’t have any involvement in recruiting players to sign with someone who does.
The rule was implemented last year to wipe out “runners,” folks operating discreetly on college campuses to make connections between players and agents. The NFLPA feared that runners were breaking the rules against making payments to players (because many runners were), giving agents a layer of plausible deniability.
Still, this situation remains different. Jay-Z doesn’t work for Miale. The previously unknown Miale works for Jay-Z. He’s not a runner; he’s a closer.
The problem is that, if the folks close to the process opt to try to conceal Jay-Z’s role in the process (like when Smith advisor John Thornton said Jay-Z was involved and then claimed to be misquoted), the broader philosophical discussion will be lost in the question of whether the NFLPA can catch someone in a lie — and then throw the book at as many of them as possible.
Of course, the process started down this path when Jay-Z decided he was going to crash the party without regard to the rules that already were in place. While some think it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission, sometimes seeking permission gets you to the same place, without the hassles.