Managers Fight Over Cowboys’ Dez Bryant

     DALLAS (CN) – Jay-Z Carter’s management company tortiously interfered with Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant’s contract with the agency that helped build his “Throw up the X” brand, Official Brands claims in court.
     Florida-based Official Brands sued Roc Nation and its sports subsidiary Roc Nation Sports on Tuesday in Dallas County Court.
     Neither Bryant nor Roc Nation founder Sean “Jay-Z” Carter are parties to the lawsuit.
     Bryant, Known for celebrating touchdowns by crossing his arms above his head in an “X,” was franchise-tagged by the Cowboys in March, resulting in a one-year, $12.823 million contract.
     One of the top wide receivers in the NFL, Bryant is expected to receive lucrative long-term contract offers when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next year.
     Official Brands claims Bryant asked its vice president, Ryan Totka, to handle his off-field interests, resulting in the signing of a two-year contract between Official Brands and Dez I Enterprises in July 2014.
     Official Brands said it provided “unprecedented services” to build Bryant’s “Throw up the X” brand and “invested substantial time and money” in doing so.
     It says it oversaw Bryants social media accounts, created and managed his personal website, provided tickets to Bryant’s family to Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars games and assisted with charity events.
     “Following defendants’ signing of Dez Bryant to a standard representation agreement in November 2014, defendant embarked on a scheme to utilize its employees to unlawfully induce Dez Bryant to terminated Dez I Enterprises Inc.’s contract with plaintiff and to shift all of his off-field business, including the ‘Throw up the X’ brand to defendants,” the complaint states.
     “The tactics used by defendants to induce Dez Bryant to terminate Dez I Enterprises Inc.’s contract with plaintiff included unsolicited contact with Dez Bryant and making false and disparaging statements to Dez Bryant concerning plaintiff and Ryan Totka, as well as, upon information and belief, providing Dez Bryant with numerous improper enticements in order to induce Dez Bryant to terminate the contract and relationship with plaintiff and Ryan Totka.”
     Official Brands claims it had business discussions with Bryant as late as this year’s Super Bowl, but after contact was suddenly cut off on Feb. 24, it received a cease and desist letter from Bryant’s attorney telling it to stop all uses of “Throw up the X.”
     Official Brands said Roc Nation and its employees made “material false and disparaging statements” to Bryant to get him to break his contract and move his off-field business to Roc Nation Sports.
     Roc Nation Sports declined to comment on the lawsuit.
     Founded in 2013, the sports division has quickly signed several big-name professional athletes, including Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, boxer Miguel Cotto, Seattle Mariners second basemen Robinson Cano and New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz.
     Official Brands seeks actual and punitive damages for tortious interference. It is represented by John Nation in Dallas.

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