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NFL prospects and rap artist agencies as representatives

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Texas A&M's Mike Evans, a player mock drafted daily by the Buffalo Bills, has signed with a new agency started by rappers Birdman and Slim of Cash Money Records. Is this something that should even be on the radar of Bills fans?

Bob Levey

Good morning Bills fans, I hope you had a great St. Patrick's Day weekend. I know I did!

For today's Morning Joe, I was going to talk to you all about a potential developmental quarterback for the Bills (yawn), but I decided to hold off on that. Instead, my co-worker - who is a Ravens fan but is now a Rumbler - directed me to a story that came out yesterday that involves a potential draft pick of the Buffalo Bills: Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans.

TMZ Sports (yeah, I know) is reporting that Evans has decided to sign with Cash Money Sports, which is a new sports management company that is own and operated by rap artists Birdman (Bryan Williams) and Slim (Ronald Williams) from the Cash Money Millionaires record label.

If you were wondering, no, I'm not making any of this up. These are their names, and yes, they have a sports management company.

Folks, I don't know if you have noticed or not, but the day is upon us when we have musicians who are now integrating themselves into professional sports. Do I dare mention the name Jon Bon Jovi?

Many of you may know or have heard of the rap mogul Sean Carter, who is also known as Jay-Z. He is the self-proclaimed former drug dealer turned rapper, author, realtor, entrepreneur, CEO, and now sports agent. Jay-Z is the CEO of Roc Nation Sports management, a sub division of Roc Nation. He is, so far, the only rapper to have successfully made the transition from the music studio to the boardroom as a sports agent.

What is Roc Nation Sports you ask? From the Northwestern Business Review:

Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter is launching his own sports agency, Roc Nation Sports, an extension of the artist's Roc Nation brand. The agency, moreover, will partner with Creative Artists Agency (CAA), a renowned talent agency with athletic clients the likes of Peyton Manning, Derek Jeter, Sidney Crosby and David Beckham.

Roc Nation Sports' client roster includes:

  • WNBA star Skylar Diggins
  • Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano
  • New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith
  • NBA star Kevin Durant
  • New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz
  • New York Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia
  • Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Hakeem Nicks

It is important to note that the Roc Nation Sports management team negotiated the fourth-largest contract in major league history by getting Cano a 10 year, $240 million deal.

You all should know me well enough by now. I wouldn't be bringing any of this up if there wasn't something controversial about it. There are a couple of opposing views that are out there as it pertains to rappers/entertainers being sports agents. One view is from the average person, like you and I, and the other view is from sports agents.

Average person opposing point of view

These kids coming out of college shouldn't trust their money and future with people who are inexperienced, and have a shady past. It's no wonder why all of these athletes wound up broke during and after their playing careers. These kids are drawn to the big houses, the overpriced cars and expensive jewelry, and have nobody looking out for their best interest. You have these scumbag agents that take advantage of these kids and pad their own pockets in the process. Everyone else gets rich, and the poor kid gets burned in the process.

What does a rapper know about financial planning and wealth management? When it comes time to negotiate or re-negotiate a contract, is the agent and his team competent enough? Stick to the well known guys; guys with good reputations. In fact, just call up Tom Brady and see who represents him and sign that guy.

Opposing view from other sports agents

Who does this guy think he is? I've been in this business for 30 years, I have negotiated hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts. I have a skill set that I have acquired over the years, and I have law and business degrees. What makes this rapper think he's qualified to even be in the same profession as me? So what, now he's going to use his celebrity status to poach and lure my clients away from me? I hope he tries it, then I can sue him for tampering and end this charade. Even if he does get a few clients, they won't be huge clients like the ones we have in my firm. Okay, maybe they'll get lucky and snag a couple of big fish, but there is no way they can get the client as good as a deal as I could get them. They'll be insane to sign with these rappers.

This rapper really doesn't understand how competitive this industry is. Once I sense an opening, I'm going to destroy them.

Rapper/Agent view point

Fast forward to the 10:17 mark. This is Jay-Z speaking on him becoming an agent. He concludes around the 12:37 mark.

Okay Bills fans, what do you think about athletes signing with these new sports management agencies? What was your initial reaction when you saw that Evans may be signing with Cash Money Sports? Did you at all question his decision making? Did you feel a little uneasy with the idea? Does it matter to you at all who his representation is? If so, why? If not, why not?

Let me know what you guys think. You'll be surprised by my answer.