Rap mogul Jay-Z has come under fire from supporters over his decision to sign a “social justice partnership” with the NFL, with people accusing him of undermining ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s three-year-long campaign against racism and injustice.
Jay-Z and his entertainment company Roc Nation signed a partnership with the NFL, less than a year after he publicly snubbed the NFL’s offer of performing at the Super Bowl halftime show over their treatment of Colin Kaepernick, who was cut from the San Francisco 49ers after he began refusing to stand for the national anthem.
However, the deal was slammed by many of his typical admirers, who accused him of undermining Kaepernick’s message in exchange for money.
One of those critical of the partnership was Kaepernick’s friend and former teammate Eric Reid. Reid responded to a quote from Jay-Z defending his decision when questioned by fellow rapper Charlamagne the God on how he could partner with the NFL “when Colin Kaepernick is still out of a job?”
“Everybody knows I agree with what you’re saying [in Kaepernick’s underlying message]. So what are we gonna do?” Jay-Z said. “[Help] millions and millions of people, or we get stuck on Colin not having a job.”
“These aren’t mutually exclusive,” Reid responded. “They can both happen at the same time! It looks like your goal was to make millions and millions of dollars by assisting the NFL in burying Colin’s career.”
These aren’t mutually exclusive. They can both happen at the same time! It looks like your goal was to make millions and millions of dollars by assisting the NFL in burying Colin’s career. https://t.co/LFBZpbj2tw
— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) August 15, 2019
Writing for Playboy, journalist David Dennis Jr. described how photos of Jay-Z with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell felt “at best like a gut punch and at worst like a betrayal.”
I wrote about Jay-Z's NFL deal and how, try as I might, to give him the benefit of the doubt, his comments and seeing him snap pics with Goodell feels at best like a gut punch and at worst like a betrayal. https://t.co/hwMRn9SXCH
— David Dennis Jr. (@DavidDTSS) August 14, 2019
Atlantic columnist Jemele Hill argued that the alliance “plays right into the NFL’s hands, because the league seems determined to banish any memory of Kaepernick with its recent social-justice efforts—even though it’s likely that Jay-Z and the NFL wouldn’t even be entering into this arrangement if Kaepernick hadn’t taken a knee in 2016.”
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) August 15, 2019
NFL columnist Mike Freeman declared that “no amount of money can erase the fact the NFL punished [Kaepernick] for speaking out on behalf of people of color.”
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
Podcaster Adam Lefkoe suggested that Jay-Z’s had been primarily motivated by money.
Jay-Z turned down the SB Ὃ…
Wore a Kaepernick jersey on SNL…
Then getsὋὋὋfrom the NFL to CONTROL THE WHOLE THING
Hova isn’t a business man…
He’s a business, man. https://t.co/CuHPQNl4jy
— Adam Lefkoe (@AdamLefkoe) August 13, 2019
Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter activists DeRay Mackeson shared an article explaining how the partnership “complicates” Jay-Z’s previous support for Kaepernick.
NFL's partnership with Jay-Z complicates icon's previous support of Colin Kaepernick https://t.co/v5lBfiK9P2
— deray (@deray) August 14, 2019
Some more negative reaction:
Pac tried to warn y’all about Jay-Z lying ass..
— Equipto (@EQUIPTO) August 15, 2019
— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) August 14, 2019
I was gonna tweet that the NFL chose dinner with Jay-Z but instead remember this lady in the big cage? pic.twitter.com/VXNHKRYnrX
— yc (@yc) August 14, 2019
The partnership is merely the latest deal that the 49-year-old can add to his business empire. In June, it emerged that Jay-Z is a billionaire thanks to a plethora of lucrative investments ranging from a $310 million stake in Armand de Brignac champagne to an estimated $70 million investment in Uber.