Could This Be The Real Reason Jay-Z Struck A Deal With The NFL?
The rapper is expected to announce an historic move to become part-owner of an National Football League (NFL) team, after questions were raised about why he would work with an organisation he had previously criticised.
Some sports and music fans voiced concerns about the motives behind Jay-Z's new partnership given previous protests about the code's treatment of former player Colin Kaepernick.
But now it appears, he wants a slice of the game in order to make change from the inside.
Initial details about the deal between his Roc Nation brand and the NFL planned to "enhance live game experiences and amplify the league's social justice efforts," according to the rapper.
But hip-hop's first billionaire evidently had more in store than overseeing half-time performances at the Superbowl and the NFL's Inspire Change initiative.
According to TMZ Sports, Jay-Z will also have "significant ownership interest" in an NFL team "in the near future".
This is significant as there are currently no African-American majority team owners, and only two coaches and nine percent of the league's entire staff are black.
Meanwhile, black NFL players account for 70 percent of the league.
NBA star LeBron James, a friend of Jay-Z's, last year said the NFL had "a bunch of old, white men owning teams and they got that slave mentality".
Critics have questioned why Jay-Z's broad NFL deal has not included quarterback and activist Kaepernick in its "social justice" portion.
Kaepernick took a knee during the American national anthem before his NFL games three years ago, to protest police brutality and racial injustice.
The protest inspired a wave of support from many players and other athletes, like soccer star Megan Rapinoe and gold medalist fencer Race Imboden.
Kaepernick has argued he was effectively blackballed from the league for his stance and the NFL has faced criticism for owners’ refusal to hire him, as well as trying to end the player kneeling protest that continued without him.
In October 2017, Kaepernick filed a formal grievance against the league, saying NFL owners had colluded to keep him off the field. The grievance was settled this year for an undisclosed sum.
Jay-Z faced backlash for partnering with the NFL this week as supporters believe Kaepernick is evidently still being punished for his peaceful protest.
"By leaving Kaepernick completely out of the mix, Jay-Z is now complicit in helping the NFL execute its strategy. Now he is an accomplice in the league’s hypocrisy," wrote Jemele Hill in The Atlantic.
"I think we’re past kneeling. I think it’s time for action," Jay-Z said when asked by journalists why Kaepernick wasn't included in his NFL partnership.
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