On Deck: Crazy From The Heat

“Like Minds”
“Like Minds”

By Will Martin

You must forgive me if I choose to borrow a phrase from 1985 and the early peak of David Lee Roth embarking on a solo career. You see if you’re a fan of something chances are you always will equate the individual to the group, team or band with which they currently or once played.

In 1973, I became enthralled with a band named Montrose. It was quite the year for rookie music as Montrose with Sammy Hagar, Queen, Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kiss, 10CC, and the Scorpions had debut albums.

I liked Sammy Hagar as a solo artist. Some fans think of him as the vocalist from Montrose or Van Halen or these days Chickenfoot.

Time and again you will hear countless discussions/arguments/agreements/discourse over how much influence a certain individual has in their band or group. Occasionally there also is that added caveat of being a lone wolf and having more success in a solo career.

Gerry Rafferty comes to mind for ‘Baker Street’ in 1978. I wonder how many people remember in 1975 his vocals to ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’ as a member of Stealers Wheel? My point exactly.

What if you are the perceived rock star agent who can give an athlete anything he wants? What if you have a reputation for being a tough negotiator and get your clients the best contracts available? In so doing you raise the bar that much more to help the next free agent when it’s time to negotiate.

Jay-Z and his Roc Nation Sports have yet to be licensed as agents with the National Football League (which will one day come to pass). In the last year no less, Robinson Cano and Victor Cruz have both said ‘goodbye’ to their agents and gone to Jay-Z via CAA Sports. In fact, his latest acquisition to the budding imprint, newly drafted Jets’ QB Geno Smith, has garnered Mr. Z a bit on unwanted attention – namely an investigation from the NFL Players Association due to the nature of the signing.

I’m sure it also helps that Jay-Z is married to the one and only Beyonce, a fellow mover and shaker in the music, fashion, and endorsement lines. If you are a talented young up-and-comer and are properly represented when it’s time to shine would you not want a bad-ass with influence to assist?

I recently read where Jay-Z wants to represent the soccer phenom Neymar due to his marketability. If you have the ways, connections, and means to have access to a superstar then why the hell not?

When you agree to go into a partnership with someone you’re essentially saying that, ‘I have something to bring to the table. Now you go figure out how big that table is going to be.’ Be sure to read the fine print and have a lawyer present to double-check everything. Then proceed to scale the mountains and see what kind of history you make.

One decade ago Boras was deemed ‘The Satan of Sports’ due to the contracts he commanded. If an owner is dumb enough to pay why blame Scotty? Time and again I have stated how “competition breeds a better product!” If my numbers and hard work dictate I am paid x amount of dollars in a certain field then why should it matter who your agent is?

On June 30 the talk will be hot and heavy for American hockey phenom Seth Jones to be a part of Roc Nation Sports. People who want to bag on Jay-Z for wanting to build an arsenal of great athletes should consider the following: UNTIL he is licensed to be an NFL agent, Mr. Beyonce (meant in a good way!) isn’t even the problem or issue. The CAA is where the teeth and grit and muscle will come from.

Jay-Z is in the middle of the action. So what’s the problem? The American way is all about trying to build your brand, your base, and to hopefully produce a long line of greatness. Supply and demand and create jobs and opportunity. A pedigree of persistence and execution. If the said goals are met, then you have a great relationship.

In life you meet people, you have relationships. Sometimes they go south and sometimes they grow and continue for life. There are no guarantees and no blue print on how it’s done. Maybe you’re nice and proper or cold and ruthless. If your end result is reached then the situation is win-win.

So in the end if Jay-Z is one to exert too much pressure/influence to represent athletes, young athletes about to flourish, while netting a wonderful result for market value, side gigs, endorsement deals, and create an environment for more talent to come on board – EXERT AWAY!

Bill Gates may not be the most popular guy in the techno world because of the whole monopolistic approach taken by Microsoft. Look at all the jobs he created.

Alex and Eddie Van Halen had issues with Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth. After 35 years the band and the legacy endures. Fans love the music and happily quibble about if VH was better with DLR or the Red Rocker.

Some 40 years ago George Steinbrenner  became the Yankees owner (by way of Cleveland) and made waves for some expensive free agent signings. Several titles later, Yankee fans learned to adapt as George played by the rules of “what the market will bear”…so much to be made about the art of the game.

When you have access, amazing things can happen. Jay-Z is all-access. In a way who better to fight your battles in the art of negotiation? With so many crazy requests written into musician contracts, I already can imagine what future sports superstars will demand on a deal.

Jay-Z: I know very little about you. This is America. If being a slick agent for the up-and-comer is what you want to do, then go for it. Just make sure you do what you say you’re going to do. And while you’re at it, can you bring a pro baseball team back to Brooklyn? You do that and Flatbush will have your back…for life! And you’re producing ‘The Great Gatsby?’ Well done. Sport!