Jay-Z explains NFL, Roc Nation partnership: ‘This is action’

Jay-Z explains NFL, Roc Nation partnership: ‘This is action’





Original Source


NEW YORK – The man who helped spark this entire movement and conversation – Colin Kaepernick – wasn’t inside the boardroom Wednesday, on the ninth floor of the Roc Nation offices in Chelsea, but his presence was felt.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Shawn Carter, known as Jay-Z and the founder of the entertainment company Roc Nation, sat in the middle of a long, black marble table to announce a partnership between the league and the company.

After a short presentation, both Goodell and Jay-Z fielded questions for 50 minutes from a small gathering of reporters and outlined their vision. They emphasized that this was the next phase — that it would bring real action after Kaepernick began a wave of protests against systemic oppression and police brutality in 2016 by kneeling during the pregame national anthem.

Jay-Z said he viewed the partnership as a form of protest, but added that his desire to get involved with the league was a call to take the next step after the movement to combat social inequality swept through the NFL.

“To take it back, I think that we forget that Colin’s whole thing was to bring attention to social injustice, correct?” Jay-Z said. “In that case, this is a success. This is the next thing.

“There’s two parts to the protest: With regards to how you protest, and then the company or the individuals say, ‘I hear you. What do we do next?’ So for me, this is action.”

Even though Kaepernick settled a grievance against the NFL in February that had alleged ownership was denying him employment because of his activism, Goodell was quick to say that any team could sign Kaepernick.

Multiple times, when asked about the league’s reaction to on-field protests or Kaepernick’s continued absence, Goodell instead pivoted, focusing on the actual change he expects the partnership with Roc Nation to create.

“The number-one thing we want to do is impact,” Goodell added. “That we can have an impact together and we can do some really positive things in our community. We listened to our players. We understood what our players were saying, and we created a platform which can help drive change that Colin had raised and the players had raised.

“This partnership, in addition to bringing the entertainment aspect to it with bringing football and music together, is going to help us make even greater change. We call it protest to progress.”

In addition to helping the league curate musical acts for events like the Super Bowl halftime show or the Pro Bowl, Roc Nation will funnel the proceeds from many of these events back into grants and charities chosen by artists selected to perform, via the NFL’s “Inspire Change” platform.

Roc Nation will also help the NFL launch content in music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, such as podcasts in which players and artists can discuss the social issues important to them.

Asked about those who continue to view the protests as a rebuke of the military or the flag, and whether the partnership needed to convince them of the players’ reasons behind the protests, Jay-Z was blunt.

“It’s just a deflection of the narrative that those people want out there,” he told USA TODAY Sports. “These players have been committed to action through their protests. In these communities, there are people dying. So when you hear people say that, it’s (expletive). You can’t believe that because it’s total (expletive).”

Jay-Z also responded to early criticism that the partnership rings hollow because Kaepernick remains out of the league.

“… The kneeling was not about a job; it was about injustice,” he said. “Everyone is saying, ‘How are you going forward if Kap doesn’t have a job?’ This wasn’t about him having a job.”






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