Roc Nation Sports is a sub-division of Roc Nation (full-service entertainment company) in partnership with CAA Sports, and was founded in 2013 by Shawn Carter better known as Jay Z. Roc Nation Sports conceptualizes and executes marketing and endorsement deals, community outreach, charitable tie-ins, media relations and brand strategy. Its roster includes premiere athletes such as Robinson Cano, Skylar Diggins, Kevin Durant, and Victor Cruz.
Details regarding the meeting between Felix Hernandez, Jay Z, Juan Perez, Robinson Cano, and Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik for Cano’s 10 year-$240M deal have caught the eye of some baseball agents. The meeting’s guest list included Desiree Perez, who is not a certified MLBPA agent and according to Section 3 of the MLBPA Regulations Regarding Agents “No person is authorized to engage in, or attempt to engage in, any of the conduct described in either section 3(A) or 3(B) without first obtaining the appropriate certification from the MLBPA as a Player Agent”. Section 3(A) goes on to explain the negotiations and dealings with a MLB club or league and Section 3(B) discusses Recruitment or Maintenance of Players.
There is no record of Desiree Perez being a certified agent with the MLBPA; therefore, some MLB agents are outraged that she was sitting in on the negotiation meeting for Cano. Perez is an influential member of the Roc Nation’s brand and helps run Jay Z’s 40/40 club, but does not have the credentials laid out by the MLBPA Regulations to sit in on negotiations involving a player. Also, it has been reported that Perez is a convicted felon with a long history of drug involvement, first for criminal possession with intent to distribute 35 kilograms of cocaine in 1994 and later as a DEA cooperator who wore wires to meet with major cocaine traffickers.
This is not the first time that Jay Z & his Roc Nation empire have been attacked since the rapper turned agent started his venture as a sports agent. He has been ridiculed by rival MLB agents for not meeting the education requirement for agents and for being a convicted felon.
Section 4 of the MLBPA Regulations Regarding Agents spells out the education requirements for agents “The MLBPA will presume that an Applicant who never previously been certified and has not attained at least a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelors of Sciences degree is not eligible to be granted General Certification…unless the Applicant, in the reasonable judgment of the MLBPA, demonstrated sufficient knowledge and relevant professional or employment experiences (e.g., in the professional baseball industry, other professional sports or entertainment, business management, marketing, finance, etc.)”. Jay Z clearly meets the exception to the education requirement spelled out due to his experience in the entertainment industry with Roc Nation. As far as being a convicted felon, Jay Z has been very open and honest about his criminal past and the Major League Baseball Players Association did not deny his approval as a certified agent despite him answering “Yes” to question 137 regarding being convicted or pled guilty or no contest (nolo contendere) to a criminal charge, other than minor traffic violations of the Application For General Certification As A Player Agent.
No one knows what the future of Roc Nation Sports holds besides its fearless leader Mr. Shawn Carter.