Jay-Z and his Roc Nation have entered into a multiyear partnership with the National Football League (NFL), per a statement released Tuesday (August 13). The cited aim of the deal is “to reduce barriers to opportunity, with a focus on three priority areas: education and economic advancement; police and community relations; and criminal justice reform.”
But not everyone is a fan of the deal, considering the NFL’s treatment of Black athletes like Colin Kaepernick, who was pushed out of the league when he began protesting racial injustice by taking a knee on the field, and whom Jay-Z has publically supported. The music mogul even reportedly refused to perform during last year’s Super Bowl, going so far as to slam the NFL in the song “Apeshit,” rapping, “I said no to the Super Bowl, you need me, I don’t need you.”
Jay-Z addressed the Kaepernick question via The Wall Street Journal, according to Variety: “We like to think that the way we build the [NFL’s social awareness program] Inspire Change platform, that if anything close to that would happen in the future, then Kaepernick would have a platform where he can express himself and maybe it doesn’t have to take place on the field,” Jay-Z told the Wall Street Journal Tuesday, according to Variety.
Jay-Z later said that he talked to Kaepernick ahead of the deal, but TMZ reports that Kaep’s attorney, Mark Geragos, maintains that the MC did not talk to his client about the partnership.
Many people are scratching their heads.
If Colin Kaepernick isn’t part of this, I’m not sure how to feel about this. Very curious about these details https://t.co/6Cw4gqOIrH— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) August 13, 2019
Interesting timing on the partnership with Jay-Z on the heels of Stephen Ross’ fundraiser for Donald Trump and the backlash his other companies are getting because of it. #PayAttentionFolks— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) August 14, 2019
Not sure how I feel about this. Seems kinda dirty by Jay. Now, if he’s gonna use this platform to flip it and possibly become an owner, cool. But, if this is just a “partnership” with the league, imma believe he’s a sellout.— Mr. Williams (@BigEWill624) August 14, 2019
So the NFL is forming an entertainment and “social justice” partnership with Jay-Z and his Roc Nation agency. Jay Z hasn’t spoken with Colin Kaepernick about this and yet says he was an “inspiration.” If this isn’t Black capitalism exploiting the movement I don’t know what is.— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) August 13, 2019
UNSTRIPPED VOICE (@UnstrippedVoice) August 13, 2019
Just to be clear… No Jay-Z. No Robert Kraft and Meek Mill. No players coalition. No amount of money can erase the fact the NFL punished @Kaepernick7 for speaking out on behalf of people of color, and continues to ban him. Thanks for attending my Ted Talk.— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) August 13, 2019