Jay-Z’s NFL Partnership May Look Bad After He ‘Said No To The Super Bowl,’ But It Actually Makes Sense

Jay-Z’s NFL Partnership May Look Bad After He ‘Said No To The Super Bowl,’ But It Actually Makes Sense

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You’re allowed to roll you eyes between clenching your teeth over this alliance out of nowhere between the NFL and Jay-Z.

Still, let’s applaud this thing, but only with an asterisk.

Since Shawn Carter became the first billionaire hip-hop artist as “in keeping it real,” does this new multiyear partnership involving his Roc Nation and the NFL make his alter ego of Jay-Z look fake?


I said no to the Super Bowl, you need me, I don’t need you

Every night we in the end zone, tell the NFL we in stadiums too

What about Roger Goodell? Isn’t this just another example of the NFL commissioner and the owners of the world’s most powerful sports league trying to sucker folks into believing they care more about ending social injustice, police brutality and yadda, yadda, yadda than trying to generate even more than the $15 billion they made last year?

No doubt.

(Keep reading, by the way, because the asterisk is coming).

This is the same NFL that settled a lawsuit in February alleging the league’s 32 teams colluded to keep former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick out of the game for starting an epidemic. He and other players began kneeling during the national anthem before the 2016 season to protest (ahem) social injustice, police brutality and yadda, yadda, yadda.

This also is the same NFL that has felt such a backlash from Kaepernick’s inability to sign with anybody since leaving the 49ers in March 2017 that nobody of consequence wants to perform at halftime of Super Bowls.

Rihanna and Cardi B reportedly were among those who said no to the NFL regarding this year’s Super Bowl in Atlanta. Most famously, Jay-Z released that song (see above) last summer about his disdain for the post-Kaepernick NFL. He even wore the old No. 7 jersey of the guy while singing on Saturday Night Live.

None of those actions of principle kept the NFL and Roc Nation from announcing Wednesday that their new deal will involve Jay-Z’s company “entering into a multiyear partnership with the NFL to enhance the NFL’s live game experiences,” according to NFL.com, which is owned by the league.

Translated: NFL officials want Jay-Z to help them get folks better than Maroon 5 for their Super Bowl halftimes.

Regardless, is this a splendid thing?

Yep. It really is.

Despite the clumsiness of a Kaepernick-inspired news conference without the man himself in person or in spirit (well, if you believe Kaepernick’s lawyer and his girlfriend), Jay-Z sort of said the definitive things with Goodell sitting nearby at the New York City headquarters of his entertainment company.

“We forget that Colin’s whole thing was to bring attention to social injustice. In that case, this is a success. This is the next phase,” Jay-Z told reporters. “There [are] two parts of protesting. You go outside and you protest, and then the company or the individual says, ‘I hear you. What do we do next?’

“For me it’s like action, [an] actionable item, what are we gonna do with it? Everyone heard, we hear what you’re saying, and everybody knows I agree with what you’re saying [in Kaepernick’s underlying message]. So what are we gonna do? You know what I’m saying? [Help] millions and millions of people, or we get stuck on Colin not having a job.”

Yeah, that makes sense.

Thus the asterisk.

Even so, that asterisk is rather large.

Neither Jay-Z nor Goodell made any of this easier to take during their news conference when they said Kaepernick was good with the agreement. According to Bleacher Report and other media outlets, Kaepernick’s agent (Mark Geragos) and his girlfriend (Nessa Diab) said the 31-year-old icon of “keeping it real” people wasn’t informed of the deal before it happened.

So that asterisk just got a bit larger.

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