Why Jay Z’s Roc Nation/NFL Partnership Defeats Colin Kaepernick’s Purpose

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Photo credits: Getty Images



Through his entertainment company Roc Naton, hip-hop mogul Jay Z (pictured left) has established a partnership with the NFL.

The 49-year-old rap icon and recently-minted billionaire has been announced as the NFL’s new “live music entertainment strategist.” Roc Nation will be consulting the NFL on Super Bowl halftime shows and performance-related matters at other league events.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Jay Z held a Wednesday (August 14) press conference at Roc Nation’s offices in New York City. Both men gave fluffy descriptions of the new deal between Roc Nation and the NFL.

In addition to entertainment, Roc Nation will be working with the NFL on its revised initiatives involving social justice. The NFL’s need to revisit its marketing and public relations strategies came about after the courageous acts of a former player.

Colin Kaepernick (pictured right) is the former starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. Hate him or love him, the 31-year-old Nike brand ambassador put a dent in the almighty NFL’s pockets with his protesting campaign in recent history.

Kaepernick won his collusion case against the NFL after he was benched then booted from the league for his activism. Protesters who were for and against Kaepernick launched boycotts of the NFL, which successfully caused TV ratings to plummet.

However, in lieu of walking away from the sports conglomerate that desecrated him for exercising his rights, Kaepernick continues workouts in hopes of landing on an NFL roster. In a sense, Kaepernick’s desired reality is very far-fetched.

It is highly unlikely for any former employee to get their job back after successfully suing their former employer. Whether a person is a janitor or a high-paid sports figure like Kaepernick was, corporate America does not lose twice to anyone. It is an unwritten law.

In retrospect, Kaepernick succeeded in many ways as it pertains to drawing attention to social injustice. He also exposed the NFL’s lack of genuine public responsibility when it comes to the league’s legal status as a nonprofit organization.

Prior to the publishing of this article, attempts by HVY Journalists to reach NFL Vice President Brian McCarthy via email were unsuccessful.

However, the elephants in the room at Goodell and Jay Z’s press conference were the nagging questions from reporters about why Kaepernick is still not on an NFL team roster.

A reporter even implied that the new NFL/Roc Nation alliance was “disingenuous,” according to Rolling Stone. Also, Jay Z’s sugar-coated Kaepernick reference/disclaimer made it all the more evident that something really shadowy is going on.

“I think that we forget that Colin’s whole thing was to bring attention to social injustice, correct? So in that case, this is a success; this is the next thing…I’m not knocking anything [Colin is] doing, and I hope he doesn’t knock what I’m doing,” Jay Z said.

In all fairness, Kaepernick should knock what Jay Z is doing. There is a gentlemanly way for him to express that in a respectful manner. But Jay Z being enlisted by the NFL to fix the image problems Kaepernick created for them is counterproductive. Here’s why.

Jay Z does not need a job with the NFL. A job with the NFL was not taken away from him. Therefore, Roc Nation’s new status as “the help” for the NFL’s damage control mission is essentially attempting to undo what Kaepernick’s campaign successfully achieved.

Kaepernick’s activist progress against his former employer was gaining steam.  His mission to prove the NFL’s indifference to the oppression of minorities was being legitimized bit by bit. The studies by analysts of the sports world have confirmed this.

However, Kaepernick is still not on an NFL roster. He does not have to be in order to remain as an influential figure and thorn in the NFL’s side.

Looking ahead, other current players following in Kaepernick’s footsteps of activism may still share his same fate of being rejected by the league. I am willing to bet that Jay Z’s new job as the NFL’s “live music entertainment strategist” is not going to change that.

I am also willing to bet that behind closed doors somewhere, Kaepernick turned down a business offer from Jay Z in the past. He has a history of being spiteful and conniving when things do not go his way in the worlds of street folklore and corporate thuggery.

On the other hand, Kaepernick remains involved in the fight for social justice and donates an untold number of millions for other good causes.

In closing, I will say that I am not sure how Jay Z will win on behalf of a good cause by lobbying for an entity, which clearly was on the side of the wrong dog in the overall fight for social justice.

The real plan of action involves testing the mettle of something, which is much bigger than Colin Kaepernick, the NFL, and Jay Z.