When news leaked about Jay-Z's Roc Nation partnering with the NFL to become its live music entertainment strategist, one of the biggest questions that arose was whether or not the music mogul had discussed the situation with quarterback Colin Kaepernick. After all, Jay-Z has long been a critic of the league's handling of the peaceful protests that involved kneeling during the National Anthem.
During a Wednesday press conference at Roc Nation's headquarters, both Jay-Z and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed that they had spoken to Kaepernick prior to the deal becoming a reality. However, neither would divulge any of the details from the discussion. All Jay-Z would say, per Rolling Stone, is that the deal with the NFL is not tied to Kaepernick and that "I’m not knocking anything he’s doing, and I hope he doesn’t knock what I’m doing."
“I think that we forget that Colin’s whole thing was to bring attention to social injustice, correct?” Jay said. “So in that case, this is a success; this is the next thing. ‘Cause there’s two parts of protesting. You go outside and you protest, and then the company or the individual says, ‘I hear you. What do we do next?’ So for me, it was like, action, actionable item, what are we going to do with it? Everyone heard and we hear what you’re saying, and everybody knows I agree with what you’re saying. So what are we going to do? So we should, millions of millions of people, and all we get stuck on [is] Colin not having a job.”
Goodell, on the other hand, reiterated that Kaepernick is not being "blackballed" by the league and that he is free to sign with any team. Additionally, the NFL Commissioner views this partnership as a way to create change based on issues that were highlighted by Kaepernick's protests. He even referred to the partnership as "protest to progress."
"We talked about a variety of issues," Goodell said on Wednesday. "I think when we first met, we talked about entertainment and how we do that, but the number one thing we went to was impact. We can have an impact together. We can do some really positive things in our community."
Whether this partnership creates change remains to be seen, but the NFL and Jay-Z are both confident that it will serve as a bigger platform for Kaepernick and other players that want to get their message out into the world. Although the former NFL quarterback has yet to respond to the news and confirm that he talked to Jay-Z and Goodell.