JAY-Z Is Partnering With The NFL On Social Justice & Entertainment Initiatives
Since 2016, JAY-Z has been one of the highest-profile supporters of Colin Kaepernick in his battle against the NFL. In addition to wearing his jerseys in solidarity, Jay used his profile and art to mirror Kaep’s demonstrations in support of justice for people of color.
In February of this year, the onetime NFL Super Bowl quarterback reached an agreement with the NFL. The undisclosed payout came after he filed a grievance that team owners throughout the league colluded to keep him from playing, following kneeling demonstrations during the national anthem. Although the deal ended a multi-year battle between the league and one of its biggest advocates, the NFL still faces ongoing challenges with its viewership as well as community-and-player relations.
Jay and Roc Nation are stepping in to assist the league. According to The Washington Post, a partnership was reached between the two parties. Jay and his multi-faceted company will help the league with social justice initiatives as well as some of its entertainment programming. The report says that this will also include the NFL’s Super Bowl Halftime Show. The event, historically sponsored, has previously featured Jay and his wife, Beyoncé. Last year, reports suggested that Jay, as well as Roc Nation-managed artist Rihanna, turned down offers to perform out of solidarity to Colin Kaepernick. OutKast’s Big Boi did appear, along with Maroon 5 and Travis Scott.
Roc Nation will be billed as co-producer. However, the newspaper adds that there is no provision to make Jay part of its annual talent. “[JAY-Z] was very quick to say that he does not want this to be about him performing, that it was broader than that,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in an interview. “It quickly went beyond that. Do I hope he’ll perform in the Super Bowl sometime in the next several years? Yes. But I think we’ll all know if that time comes. He’ll know in particular.”
Jay’s team will select talent for the league at events throughout the year. “I think we have autonomy,” JAY-Z said in a statement, adding that he anticipates hurdles. “With any big organization, in this building right here, we have internal problems. Anything that’s new is going to go through its growing pains. We put what we want to do on the table. The NFL agreed to it. So we’re gonna proceed with that as if we have a partnership.” Previously, Jay has been a stakeholder in the Brooklyn Nets NBA team. His company also manages sports careers, including NFL players Todd Gurley, Victor Cruz, Ndamukong Suh, and former head coach Hue Jackson. Jay appeared at several NFL games during the 2018 season.
In March, Jay and Roc Nation’s Team ROC provided legal services to 11-year-old Jabari Talbot. Talbot was arrested in Lakeland, Florida for refusing to stand for the Pledge Of Allegiance. The student reportedly told his teacher, “the flag was racist and the national anthem was offensive to Black people.” After that teacher suggested if Talbot was unhappy, he should leave, the student replied, “They brought me here.”
Subsequently, the school staff member sought intervention, leading to the 11-year-old’s arrest.
As of this week, Colin Kaepernick remains a free agent.