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Bad Bunny Agency Claims MLBPA Imposed ‘Death Penalty’ for Sanctions

Rimas Sports, the agency founded by artist Bad Bunny, accused the Major League Baseball Players’ Association of having “imposed the death penalty” on the agency through “a discriminatory investigation, biased and predetermined” about Rimas’ business practices, according to a federal lawsuit the company filed Thursday.

On April 10, the MLBPA decertified Rimas’ agent, William Arroyo, and blocked Rimas executives Noah Assad and Jonathan Miranda from seeking certification after accusing the agency of offering improper benefits to players. Additionally, Michael Velasquez, another certified MLBPA agent at Rimas, was threatened with decertification and left the company, according to the lawsuit.

In a 27-page complaint filed in the United States District Court in Puerto Rico, Rimas sought a temporary restraining order and injunction against the union’s sanctions, which the company said were “designed to put Rimas Sports definitively bankrupt”. The suit alleged that the MLBPA had “exceeded the scope of its statutory authority under the National Labor Relations Act” by extending sanctions against individuals to the entire company. Rimas employees were previously denied a temporary restraining order to continue operating their businesses and, according to the complaint, relief is warranted from the company-wide excesses of the MLBPA .

“By generally prohibiting any certified MLBPA agent from affiliating with Rimas Sports and Rimas Entertainment in any capacity,” the complaint states, “the MLBPA has effectively imposed the death penalty on Rimas Sports as a agency and prohibited Rimas Entertainment, which is not in the sports agency business and has never had an MLBPA certified agent, from contracting with clients seeking to enter into branding, endorsement or endorsement deals. restrictions extend far beyond the scope of the MLBPA’s authority to regulate its agents.

The MLBPA declined to comment through a spokesperson.

Rimas previously sought sanctions relief against Arroyo, Assad and Miranda through an arbitrator, who denied the move. The American Arbitration Association will determine the appeal of their individual sanctions, which were filed before the May 10 deadline.

According to the complaint, the effect on Rimas as a whole is much more profound. Rimas claimed the sanctions caused the company “irreparable harm,” citing the fact that the union blocked certified agents from working with Rimas; a memo sent by MLB to teams warning them not to deal with Rimas employees; and the reluctance of third parties to engage with the company.

As an example, Rimas cited the inability to continue negotiating a contract extension for New York Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez as well as the loss of the opportunity to sign reigning National League MVP Ronald Acuna Jr. as a client due to sanctions. Topps, the baseball card brand owned by Fanatics – in which the MLBPA has invested – “has informed Rimas Sports that due to MLBPA prohibitions, they cannot speak with the marketing, endorsement and marketing agreements sponsorship of Rimas Sports, such as that of Ronald Acuña,” according to the complaint.

Rimas Sports, which was launched in 2021 by Assad, Miranda and Benito Martinez Ocasio – the international recording superstar known as Bad Bunny – aimed to cater to Latin American gamers and quickly built a roster of clients including Álvarez, Mets prospect Ronny Mauricio and Colorado. shortstop Ezequiel Tovar, with whom the agency negotiated a seven-year contract extension worth $63.5 million. Other agents accused Rimas of paying players to join the agency, which would go against MLBPA regulations. While Assad and Miranda sought MLBPA certification, Martinez, according to the complaint, remains “a semi-passive investor.”

Although the lawsuit does not address the merits of the MLBPA’s disciplinary actions against Rimas employees, it does suggest that the union and others believed that “these Puerto Rican ‘outsiders’ were disrupting the company too much and too quickly.” order of the baseball sports agency. and Rimas Sports’ competitors would not allow it.”

About a year before the MLBPA’s investigation and decision were completed, entertainment attorneys Oswaldo Rossi, John Baldivia and Jimmy Barnes sought union certification, according to the complaint. In a letter from an MLBPA attorney, the complaint states, they were told that their “certifications would be conditioned on your agreement not to work for or with Rimas Sports, or represent clients of Rimas Sports.” – an “unprecedented condition imposed on them (which) is not part of the MLBPA regulations”.

“The MLBPA knew, or should have known, that such actions have caused and will continue to cause serious and deadly harm to the Rimas Companies,” the complaint continues. “In fact, the intended effect of the MLBPA’s actions was precisely to prevent the Rimas Companies from participating in the sports agency market for MLB and MiLB players.”

News Source : www.espn.com
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