A day after Jay-Z announced that his Roc Nation company was partnering with the NFL, the rap icon explained that he still supports protesting, kneeling and former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, but he’s also interested in working with the league to make substantial changes.
And he hinted that he asked Kaepernick to be involved in the Roc Nation-NFL deal, but that he declined.
“You’d have to ask him,” the Grammy winner said Wednesday when asked why Kaepernick was not a part of the deal. “I’m not his boss. I can’t just bring him into something. That’s for him to say.”
Jay-Z also said he and Kaepernick had a conversation about the new deal but offered no details about what was discussed.
Jay-Z fielded questions at his company’s New York City headquarters alongside NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. When directly asked if he would kneel or stand, Jay-Z said: “I think we’ve moved past kneeling and I think it’s time to go into actionable items.”
He then added: “No, I don’t want people to stop protesting at all. Kneeling — I know we’re stuck on it because it’s a real thing — but kneeling is a form of protest. I support protest across the board. We need to bring light to the issue.
Photo: Ben Hider / Associated Press
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“I think everyone knows what the issue is — we’re done with that,” he added. “We all know the issue now. OK, next. What are we moving (on to) next? … And I’m not minimizing that part of it because that has to happen, that’s a necessary part of the process. But now that we all know what’s going on, what are we going to do? How are we going to stop it? Because the kneeling was not about a job, it was about injustice.”
Jay-Z has been among the biggest supporters of Kaepernick, who sparked a fissure in the NFL when he decided to kneel when the national anthem was played before games to protest the killings of black people by police officers. Some called him unpatriotic, and he has not played for the NFL since he opted out of his contract with the 49ers in 2017.
The NFL and Jay-Z’s entertainment and sports representation company announced Tuesday they were partnering for events and social activism, a deal Jay-Z said had been in the works over the past seven months.
The league plans to use Roc Nation — home to Rihanna, DJ Khaled and other stars — to consult on and co-produce its entertainment presentations, including the Super Bowl halftime show. The NFL also will work with Jay-Z’s company to help its Inspire Change initiative, created by the league after an agreement with a coalition of players who demonstrated during the national anthem to protest social and racial injustice in this country. Those demonstrations were sparked by Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.
“Everyone’s saying, ‘How are you going forward if Kaep doesn’t have a job?’ This was not about him having a job. That became part of it,” Jay-Z said. “We know what it is — now how do we address that injustice? What’s the way forward?”
Mesfin Fekadu is an Associated Press writer.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Jay-Z-defends-NFL-deal-with-Roc-Nation-talks-14305128.php.