As controversy swirled around Jay-Z’s partnership with the NFL, Colin Kaepernick raised his hand on Wednesday to point to the cause at the center of attention — social justice.
Jay-Z will work with the NFL to promote social justice issues off the field while his Roc Nation will co-produce Super Bowl halftime shows in a deal announced this week.
What’s missing from the equation is Kaepernick. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who hasn’t played since the 2016 season because he was the face of the on-field protest effort involving kneeling during the national anthem was reportedly not consulted on the partnership.
Hours after Jay-Z —who has publicly supported Kaepernick’s cause in the past —answered questions about why Kaepernick was not part of the deal, Kaepernick posted a video highlighting the issues of police brutality his protests have focused on.
‘How can you stand for the national anthem?’
Today marks the three year anniversary of the first time I protested systemic oppression. I continue to work and stand with the people in our fight for liberation, despite those who are trying to erase the movement! The movement has always lived with the people! ✊🏾
🎥: @REL pic.twitter.com/TAqumRfjbi
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) August 14, 2019
“How can you stand for the national anthem of the nation that preaches and propagates freedom and justice for all that is so unjust to so many of the people living there?” Kaepernick says in introducing the the video.
The video shows footage of police violence, statements from family members of victims of police violence and media coverage of Kaepernick’s protests.
Jay-Z claims he talked with Kaepernick
Jay-Z faced questions about Kaepernick’s involvement in the NFL deal in a joint news conference with league commissioner Roger Goodell officially announcing the partnership earlier Wednesday.
He told reporters that he had spoken with Kaepernick.
“I would never tell you what me and Kap’s private conversation was about, but we spoke, yeah,” Jay-Z said, according to Variety.
Kaepernick’s camp says otherwise
This appears to contradict a statement from Kaepernick’s friend, fellow protestor and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid, who tweeted Tuesday night that Kaepernick was not consulted about the partnership.
Kaepernick’s girlfriend Nessa Diab attacked Jay-Z’s claim on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon, calling it a lie that the two had spoken while pointing to another article from Monday where Jay-Z claimed that he didn’t consult Kaepernick.
— NESSA (@nessnitty) August 14, 2019
Nessa’s tweet reiterated a statement from Kaepernick’s lawyer Mark Geragos, who told TMZ on Wednesday that Kaepernick and Jay-Z had not spoken prior to the NFL partnership.
Later on Wednesday, Reid went further to outline what he believes the rap mogul’s intentions are, tweeting that Jay-Z’s “goal was to make millions and millions of dollars by assisting the NFL in burying Colin’s career.”
These aren’t mutually exclusive. They can both happen at the same time! It looks like your goal was to make millions and millions of dollars by assisting the NFL in burying Colin’s career. https://t.co/LFBZpbj2tw
— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) August 15, 2019
Context not clear
The context of Jay-Z’s claim that he spoke with Kaepernick is muddy. It’s unclear if he meant that he had spoken with Kaepernick about other issues or if he had spoken with Kaepernick since he made an agreement with the NFL — or something else entirely.
But the hubbub over his statement is crystal clear.
This is a problem for Jay-Z
As of now, it looks like Jay-Z is taking sides with the NFL and working to help the league in its effort to shift anything that looks like protest as far away from the field as possible — all while Kaepernick remains unemployed by the league.
Coming from a guy who basically laid an NFL diss track bragging about saying no to the Super Bowl, it looks on the surface to be an about-face.
Until and unless Jay-Z executes a master plan that satiates the heart of Kaepernick’s protest movement, he’s going to be vulnerable to the torrent of criticism that has rained down upon him since Tuesday.
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