During a panel titled, “How Legal Skills Translate into Sports Agency,” hosted at Chapman University Fowler School of Law on Friday, February 7, speakers quickly migrated to the topic of Jay Z and his role in a changing sports agency landscape. Jay Z was criticized at length for entering into a field that was seemingly beyond his intellect and he was denounced for failing to land a single prospect for the 2014 NFL Draft. South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney and Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater were supposedly main targets for Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports, and the rap mogul failed to land either prized prospect.
However, days later Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports signed one of the most coveted players in the NFL. Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has chosen Roc Nation Sports as his on-field and off-field representatives after leaving his former agent less than three weeks ago. His prior representative was Roosevelt Barnes of Relativity Football, who had started serving on Suh’s behalf before the defensive tackle was the second overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Jay Z is not currently certified as an NFLPA Contract Advisor, and thus he will not be engaging in any direct negotiations with NFL teams concerning any immediate future on-field deals for Ndamukong Suh. It is not yet known whether football agent Kimberly Ann Miale, who is the representative of one NFL player (New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith) or representatives from Creative Artists Agency will be handling team contract negotiations henceforth. When the robinson cano wiki-cano/”>Roc Nation Sports entity was first announced, in conjunction with the signing of second baseman Robinson Cano as its first official client, a concurrent statement was released indicating that Roc Nation Sports established a strategic partnership with Creative Artists Agency. While Geno Smith is not represented by Creative Artists Agency, that may not be the case for Ndamukong Suh.
"Curious decision if Kim Miale is negotiating Suh’s extension because of her inexperience," said NFL contracts and salary cap expert Joel Corry on Twitter. “Cruz’s CAA/Jay-Z combo is safer.” Corry was referencing Jay Z’s representation of New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, which established Creative Artists Agency as the entity charged with negotiating his on-field contracts.
What may not be so curious is Jay Z’s blueprint for developing his sports agency. Instead of focusing time, attention and money on recruiting a plethora of draft eligible players, Jay Z may be better served to sign athletes already in the NFL. Victor Cruz, Geno Smith and now Ndamukong Suh were all represented by other agents and already drafted by professional teams prior to moving over to Roc Nation Sports.
Upon hearing that Suh selected Roc Nation Sports as his new agents, one NFLPA Contract Advisor said to FORBES, “unless Roc Nation does it strictly by-the-numbers, this could be their ‘Master P moment.’” The agent was making a subtle reference to former NFL running back Ricky Williams leaving one-time agent Andrew Brandt for Master P and then Master P botching a major contract for Williams. He continued, “[the] Lions and other potential suitors must be pumped! Crazy how Suh goes from a firm with one of the best negotiation track records to one with nearly zero NFL negotiating experience.”
In 2001, Jay Z rapped, “Money pourin in, clientele growin now.” It was a line in the track called “Blueprint.” Thirteen years later, same song, different game, and still a lot of haters.Want to learn more about the business of sports? Pre-order my book How to Play the Game and follow me on Twitter.Follow @DarrenHeitner