It was supposed to be good news … instead, it added fuel to an ongoing controversy.
Jay Z joined with forces with the NFL to help them better their commitment to marginalized communities. The rapper’s entertainment company, Roc Nation, signed a deal with the league to work on both live entertainment and social justice initiatives. But now folks are big mad and are calling the Jigga man a pawn in the NFL’s attempt to cover up the blackballing of Colin Kapernick.
Eric Reid, Kap’s friend and Carolina Panthers star said as much on Twitter.
“Jay-Z doesn’t need the NFL’s help 2 address social injustices. It was a money move 4 him & his music business” he wrote.
For his part, Colin spoke out and thanked those who have stayed by his side and doubled-down on their support.
View this post on Instagram
You never turned your back on me or the people, even when the nfl tried to silence your voice & the movement. You’ve never flinched or wavered. I love you Brother! Let’s get it! @E_Reid35 And to the people – I see you, I hear you and I love you! Thank you for having my back!!!✊🏾 🎥: @relrelrelrel @djtonedef
Nessa Diab, a radio and TV host and Kaepernick’s longtime girlfriend, took a different approach and calling out Jay-Z for seeking to position his deal as the continuation of Kaepernick’s protest despite not involving the former quarterback in the partnership.
“I don’t mind you doing a business deal — but I do mind you wrapping it in social justice when you’re working with an organization that denies someone an opportunity,” she said on Hot 97 radio.
Meanwhile other observers argue that while the deal does not negate the impact of Jay-Z’s other social justice efforts, it is a stark reminder that the rapper, as he said in the 2000s, is “not a businessman / I’m a business, man.”
“To become hip-hop’s first billionaire, Jay-Z didn’t always have the luxury of avoiding relationships and partnerships with people he disagreed with or disliked,” journalist Jemele Hill recently wrote in the Atlantic. “But in this case, Jay-Z isn’t getting enough out of the deal to justify the sacrifice of some of his credibility.”
Jay-Z pushed back against those claims, arguing that Kaepernick’s protest was powerful but that “we’ve moved past kneeling,” adding that “it’s time to go into actionable items.”
But even his own Roc Nation artist Rihanna does not seem to agree. In a subtle but telling gesture, the “Work” singer liked an Instagram post captioned “Jay Z was wrong,” written by outspoken social activist Shaun King.
TMZ staffer Van Lathan also made it apparent whose side he’s on with this tweet about Kapernick.
There’s still a man, a Black man, that had his career taken because he took a stand. If we ignore that, then anyone who takes stands for us at any point is in peril. We gotta say no. @Kaepernick7 pic.twitter.com/2hJtRBQMhm
— VanLathan (@VanLathan) August 15, 2019
One person who is however on Jay’s side is Shark Tank star Daymond John who told TMZ he firmly believes Jay did NOT undercut Kap’s cause.
Whose side are you on — kneeling or standing?
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