The announcement of the partnership between Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and the NFL last week was met with mixed reviews particularly due to the fact that the rapper and business mogul, who expressed support for Colin Kaepernick and protested the NFL’s treatment of the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback for blackballing him “got in bed” with the same organization he called out.
Under the multiyear partnership, Roc Nation will assist with the league’s live game experiences, as well as help enhance its social justice efforts, the NFL said in a statement. The imprint will also 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.”
Though Jay-Z admitted he was skeptical about the partnership because of Kaepernick, who 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, the rapper, nevertheless, decided to go for it.
Speaking with ABC News on Monday, attorney for Kaepernick, Mark Geragos criticized the partnership, describing it as “cold-blooded.”
“This deal between Jay-Z and the NFL crosses the intellectual picket line,” Geragos said.
He also added that his client wasn’t made aware of the partnership before it was announced, quashing earlier reports that Kaepernick was pre-informed.
“I can confirm to you that the deal was already done prior to any conversation that [Kaepernick] had with Jay-Z and he certainly didn’t have any conversations with the NFL,” he added.
With reports of The Blueprint rapper potentially becoming a co-owner of an NFL team after the partnership was announced, Kaepernick’s close friend and former teammate Eric Reid, who also knelt with him criticized the move.
“Jay-Z claimed to be a supporter of Colin,” he said. “Wore his jersey. Told people not perform at the Super Bowl because of the treatment that the NFL did to Colin, and now he’s going to be a part-owner. It’s kind of despicable,” he added.
Jay-Z, who spoke to The Washington Post after the announcement of the partnership last week explained the basis behind it amid the Kaepernick saga.
“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.”