Last week the NFL announced a partnership with Roc Nation. Roc nation is a company that was founded by Shawn Carter or rather Jay-Z as he is known. What this means is that Jay-Z will produce performances for NFL events. Also as part of the deal Roc Nation will be responsible for “amplifying the league’s social justice efforts.”
Jay-Z has since been labeled a sellout. The announcement came 3years to the day that Colin Kaepernick started protesting systemic oppression of minorities by kneeling when the national anthem is played out before an NFL game. Jay-Z supported Colin strongly and even wore a custom Kaepernick jersey when he was on Saturday Night Live and dedicated a song to Kap. So why then has someone who supported Colin throughout his case against the NFL and supported the cause Colin stands for chosen to be a part of the opposition? Jay’s motivation for this may have something to do with wanting to be an NFL owner as well but again how can he support Kap and then turn around and join those who cast Colin aside for nothing other than standing up for what he believes in.
My view on the situation is this; there are two ways that this can go. Jay is a smart man and has many businesses. He is also a self-made man and has built tremendous wealth over the years. He also has many companies within Roc Nation that deal with issues of social injustice and helping the community. He recently helped a pregnant woman who was harassed by police, with legal advice and top notch lawyers. So why then would he help the NFL when they threw Kap away? Perhaps Jay is using this as a way into the organization so that he can affect change from within. I guarantee that owners will sit up and listen when, by then, a fellow owner in Jay-Z stands up and has something to say about issues that he has. Maybe Jay-Z is sacrificing what he believes in to really effect change in the long run so that there won’t be another situation like that of Colin Kaepernick and maybe this is the ultimate support of Colin by getting inside and perhaps one day gaining control of the NFL?
With the NFL being played by a majority of black players it was only a matter of time before we saw a black owner and for me it’s about time. The only way issues that black people have had can be dealt with is if they are represented at ownership level of the organization and I hope that Jay-Z starts a trend and is the first of many Black owners.
Now let’s flip the coin and provide the other argument. That being that Jay-Z is just a greedy rich guy that wants in on the biggest pie in America. There is no doubt in my mind that the potential for Jay to make hundreds of millions from ownership and his deal with Roc Nation is a factor but for someone who was supposedly against the NFL he changed his tune pretty quickly when he saw the opportunity to make massive amounts of money. They say money is the root of all evil and to some it would seem that Jay’s “greed” has got the better of him. After publically refusing to perform at NFL events and asking other performers to do the same and even going so far as to criticize those who did perform for NFL event, to then turning around and sign with them seems counter intuitive.
Jay-Z’s morals have come into question for a lot of people and the fact is we just don’t know yet what his end game is. Jay will either go down in history as the man who started to change the NFL from within and sacrificed his beliefs for a short while to ultimately affect long lasting change not only in the NFL but in America as a whole and he will be revered alongside Dr. King, Malcolm x and Colin Kaepernick for his contribution to creating a more equal society for black people in America.
However, he could also go down as one of the greediest men of all time, changing his morals to suit his situation for profit. He might be using these issues of social injustice to gain admiration and use that to make money of these peoples suffering somehow.
We are not yet clear on Jay’s motives for doing what he is doing and only time will tell how his legacy is secured but for now I think we have to assume the best of Jay-Z and hope that he is fighting the good fight.