Jay-Z famously said upon partnering with the NFL that “we have moved past kneeling.” Considering he believes that is the case, his actions on Sunday were noteworthy.
TMZ Sports shared video of Jay-Z, wife Beyonce, and daughter Blue Ivy all seated at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami during the playing of the national anthem prior to the Super Bowl. The video shows nearly everyone else around them standing up.
Maybe the family had a reason for not standing in that moment. Maybe they were making a political statement.
Jay-Z is said to have played a role in the NFL’s decision to organize a workout so teams could get a look at Colin Kaepernick, and the music mogul is apparently displeased with the way Kaepernick handled the situation.
As some could have predicted, Saturday’s arrangement turned into somewhat of a nightmare. Kaepernick ended up working out for NFL teams, but only the ones whose representatives were willing to travel to a different location from the one the league had secured for the event. Kaepernick informed the NFL on Saturday that he had decided to move the location of the workout to a Georgia high school about 60 miles from its scheduled location at the Falcons’ training facility, with the quarterback’s camp saying there were issues over media access and an injury waiver the NFL asked Kaepernick to sign.
The NFL released a lengthy statement claiming the injury waiver they wanted Kaepernick to sign was standard procedure, and they also said they granted Kaepernick permission to bring Nike’s film crew and were not informed he wanted the workout to be open to the media until Saturday afternoon. The league also said they found out via social media that Kaepernick bailed on the original location.
Jay-Z’s possible involvement in the NFL setting up Saturday’s planned Colin Kaepernick workout has been a topic of discussion this week.
A report during the week said that Jay-Z had a role in setting up the workout. On Friday, Dan Patrick said on his radio show that he heard Jay-Z pressured the league to hold the Kaepernick workout. DP suggested that Jay-Z pushed for the workout because the music mogul took a reputation hit after partnering with the league.
Dan says he is hearing Jay-Z pressured NFL to hold Kaepernick workout. Because Jay-Z felt his reputation took a hit from joining NFL.
Patrick later said that other sources told him any talk about Jay-Z is a distraction to take away from the opportunity the league is providing.
"I have been in touch with other well-placed sources who say that any Jay-Z narrative seems like another distraction to take away from the opportunity facilitated by the NFL for Colin Kaepernick." -Dan.
Those criticizing Jay-Z would rather talk about change than act to make change, the way Jay-Z is doing. By partnering with the league, he can have some influence and help change things from the inside, including pushing for the workout. Those questioning his motive are missing the bigger point, and that is that Kaepernick has an opportunity to workout in front of all 32 teams, which is more than he’s had since the 2016 season. Kaepernick now has a shot at making it back into the league, which has been his stated goal since 2017.
Maybe the NFL and Jay-Z’s actions have self-serving purposes, but they also are leading to an opportunity for Kaepernick. Unless you simply do not want Kaepernick back in the NFL, it’s hard to be upset with this outcome.
Colin Kaepernick may not have been supportive when the NFL and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation company announced a partnership back in August, but the music mogul is apparently still trying to help pave the way for Kaepernick to sign with a team.
Two notes: 1. Jay-Z, a partner with the NFL on social justice, had some influence here. 2. This is not part of Kaepernick’s settlement, nor did he ask for this in his settlement. https://t.co/6l7z3MYJ5x
Motives are always going to be questioned, but Kaepernick will have an opportunity to showcase his skills in front of NFL teams nonetheless. Whether or not that will turn into a job opportunity remains to be seen.
Kenny Stills was openly critical of the NFL’s new partnership with Roc Nation on Monday, so it’s fair to wonder if the Miami Dolphins wide receiver was irritated when a series of Jay-Z songs played at the start of practice the following day. At the very least, Stills knew it was coming.
Dolphins head coach Brian Flores picks the soundtrack for practice, and he chose eight straight Jay-Z songs to kick things off on Tuesday. Some wondered if he was sending a message to Stills, but a team spokesperson says Stills knew the songs would be played and Flores did not mean anything by it.
According to a team spokesperson, Kenny Stills knew the Jay-Z music was coming, and it wasn’t intended to challenge Stills’ stance on the rapper’s partnership with the NFL. I can’t speak to how @KSTiLLS received the Jay-Z tribute at practice. That would have to come from Kenny. pic.twitter.com/ThDamHx8RA
Flores has yet to explain his reasoning, but one Dolphins reporter speculated that the coach may have been trying to prepare Stills for potential distractions he will have to deal with.
One possible explanation is Flores wanting Stills to be further equipped to deal with noise – during games – that could distract him. (Next level mind games!) But we won't know until Flores explains this.
Eric Reid continues to stand in opposition to Jay-Z.
Reid spoke with reporter Ashley Holder after the Carolina Panthers’ preseason game on Friday against the Buffalo Bills. Holder asked Reid a series of questions regarding his stance on Jay-Z’s partnership with the NFL, which was announced on Tuesday. Jay-Z has partnered with the NFL to “nurture and strengthen community through football and music, including through the NFL’s Inspire Change initiative.” The initiative was created in 2019 as part of an effort with the Players Coalition in response to protests over social injustice, which were inspired by Colin Kaepernick.
Jay-Z has received backlash from critics over the deal, including some calling him a “sellout” for working with the NFL. In response to the critics, Jay-Z said, “I think we’ve moved past kneeling. I think it’s time to go into actionable items. So what are we going to do? Reach millions and millions of people, or we got stuck on Colin not having a job?”
Holder asked Reid about Jay-Z’s comments that “we’ve moved past kneeling.” Reid said that was “asinine.”
Eric Reid on Jay Z kneeling statement: “When has Jay Z ever taken a knee? For you get paid to go into a NFL conference and say we are past kneeling is asinine.” pic.twitter.com/BO9RCLUHek
Reid was teammates with Kaepernick on the San Francisco 49ers in 2016 and joined his former teammate in kneeling. He also joined Kaepernick in a lawsuit against the league on grounds of collusion, which ended when the two took a settlement.
Reid was signed by the Panthers last September after spending the offseason unsigned. His position is that nobody should work with the NFL until Kaepernick is back playing quarterback in the league.
When Jay-Z says “we’ve moved past kneeling,” he’s not saying that all the social justice issues about which Kaepernick, Reid and other players were protesting, have ended. What he is saying is that kneeling has accomplished its goal of bringing widespread attention to the matters, and now it’s time to work with the league and communities towards improving things. On Friday, a report also said Jay-Z will become a part owner in the NFL one day.
TMZ’s source did not know which team Jay-Z would take an ownership stake in, nor when it would happen, though they were told it will happen in the “near future.”
Jay-Z, real name Shawn Carter, became famous thanks to his rap career, which he parlayed into a career as a successful businessman. The 49-year-old is a global icon and has a reported net worth over $1 billion.
Jay-Z has previous experience as an owner of a professional sports team. He was a part owner of the Brooklyn Nets but sold his share in the team in 2013 when he launched Roc Nation Sports, a sports agency, due to a conflict of interest.
The rapper has been involved in NFL headlines over the past few years. He reportedly turned down an invitation to perform at the Super Bowl halftime show two years ago, reportedly over his belief Colin Kaepernick was being blackballed.