Cano Watch was supposed to be about which major league team was going to give Robinson Cano the $300 million he wants on the free-agent market. New York Yankees? Los Angeles Dodgers? Other? Instead, it's a story of Cano's celebrity agent, hip hop legend and entrepreneur Jay Z, possibly not reading the fine print on the rules about what kind of gifts are allowed.
As Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported, the Major League Baseball Players Association is investigating Jay Z (also known as Shawn Carter) for giving a $33,990 watch made of 18k yellow gold to Cano as a 31st birthday gift at a recent party in Belgium. Hey, who among us can't identify with all of that?
But in the agent-client biz there are rules, and it's possible Jay Z overlooked some after he and his Roc Nation sports group signed Cano away from Scott Boras in April.
Section 5(B)(5)(a) of the Players Association regulations states: "No Player Agent or Applicant shall provide, cause to be provided or promise to provide, any money or any other thing of value to any player, or any person related to or associated with such player, the purpose of which is to induce or encourage such player to use or continue to use any person's or firm's services as a Player Agent, Representative, or Draft Advisor.''
There is a clause allowing certain gifts if the player was already a client of the agent; however, any gift exceeding $500 must be disclosed to the union in writing. Players Association officials say the seven paragraphs of rules are meant to ensure that players choose their representatives on merit rather than what the union calls "improper inducements.''
Sources said that the Players Association has interviewed several of the principals and that Jay Z could be subject to unspecified discipline if he is found in violation.
Can't a man give another man a watch that costs more than most people's cars without red tape anymore? And it's not like Cano couldn't already afford a $33,000 watch, if he wanted; he made $15 million this past season. So even if Jay Z violated the letter of the rules by not getting written approval from the MLBPA, why would anyone think this gift constitutes some kind of bribe? Roc Nation won't even be handling most of/any of the baseball contract negotiating. A partner, Creative Artists Agency, has people for that.
Meanwhile, check out this watch:
Wanna buy one? Soon, you'll be able. If you don't like gold, or if that model's too pricey, another model in black ceramic is available for just $17,900. But if you're buying it for a Christmas gift, just make sure the bylaws of whatever organization you might be a part of allow it.