Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and the NFL, on Tuesday, announced a multiyear partnership that will see the billionaire rapper and business mogul’s imprint assisting with the league’s live game experiences, as well as, helping enhance its social justice efforts, the NFL said in a statement.
Under the partnership, Roc Nation will advise on artist selection for performances at league events, including the Super Bowl halftime show. Both brands will also join forces to “nurture and strengthen community through football and music, including through the NFL’s Inspire Change initiative.”
“With its global reach, the National Football League has the platform and opportunity to inspire change across the country,” Jay-Z said in the statement. “Roc Nation has shown that entertainment and enacting change are not mutually exclusive ideas — instead, we unify them. This partnership is an opportunity to strengthen the fabric of communities across America.”
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The deal will also see Roc Nation assisting with the creation and distribution of content across music streaming services for different initiatives, the NFL further said.
“Roc Nation is one of the most globally influential and impactful organizations in entertainment,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “The NFL and Roc Nation share a vision of inspiring meaningful social change across our country. We are thrilled to partner with Roc Nation and look forward to making a difference in our communities together.”
With NFL player Colin Kaepernick still without a team and Jay-Z – a supporter of the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback reportedly refusing to perform at the Super Bowl alongside other music stars to show solidarity, the announcement of the partnership brought the topic back up for discussion.
Kaepernick has been out of job since 2016 after he started kneeling during the national anthem to raise awareness about police brutality against blacks and other racial injustices.
“He was very quick to say that he does not want this to be about him performing, that it was broader than that,” Goodell told The Washington Post. “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-Z also admitted to the Post he was skeptical about the partnership because of Kaepernick being blackballed, nevertheless, he decided to go for it.
“I think that when you’re discussing these sort of issues, everything is going to be tough,” Jay-Z told the Post. “You can either go home, you can pack your bag and sit in the house, or you can choose to take it head-on. And that’s pretty much how we operate at Roc Nation. We seek to identify things that we want to be a part of and things that we believe that we can add value to, and we step in and we come with these ideas. And to their credit, the NFL agreed to these ideas.”
The announcement of the partnership was also received with mixed reactions on social media with a host of people highlighting Kaepernick’s current situation.
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Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid had a lot to say:
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