Harriett Tubman probably looked on with joy when the New York Jets took Quinnen Williams with the number 3 pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Williams is represented by Nicole Lynn, the first Black woman to represent a top 3 NFL Draft pick. NFL agents receive a commission of up to 3 percent of a player’s contract. As the third pick, Williams will sign a four-year contract worth about $32.4 million with the New York Jets. The money, however, is secondary to the brilliance of this amazing Black queen.
Nicole Lynn is an agent for Lil Wayne’s “Young Money APAA Sports.” Lynn had been the first female agent to represent a top NFL agency when she signed with PlayersRep in 2015, which was later acquired by Young Money. An Oklahoma native, Lynn graduated from the University of Oklahoma, where she also attended law school. After graduating with honors in 2015 Lynn went to work for PlayersRep and later began working at Houston-based law firm Norton Rose Fulbright in 2016. Lynn is a member of the Texas State Bar and was recognized in 2018 as a Pro Bono All-Star. In November she was recognized as a “Millennial Trailblazer” by the NAACP.
The overwhelming majority of the NFL’s players are Black. Still, ownership and upper management are overwhelmingly not. Further, players are still largely represented by non-Black agents. In addition to Lil Wayne’s Young Money, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and others have helped to begin creating more opportunities for Blacks in the industry. While there is certainly money to be made, there is a larger impetus. Historically, young Black men who come into instant wealth and fame have been targets for unscrupulous agents. Black owned firms see their role as larger than simply negotiating contracts– helping young Black men navigate the transition to affluence.
Nicole Lynn is not a rising star, she is already shining brightly. Thanks to Young Money and a host of other trailblazers in the industry, Black players increasingly have more options with respect to player representation. Black players are the product and as such, our community should do all that we can to make sure we benefit from our labor.