Moving Through A Room Full of Vultures: The Jay-Z Playbook
If we are being honest, the movement is stagnant. Yes, with all the shade in the world I said that. Think about it! No major star in the NFL took a knee or sat down in 2018 or 2019. It is on deaf ears. Even though people boycotted the NFL, they are now making more money than ever. Kids are still playing college football. The disadvantaged youth are still playing football because it is the fastest route to get out of the hood or the ghetto. Their parents are supporting it. The Pop Warner and Youth Football Programs are still thriving. This population of people will continue to watch football and as well as the crazy fan-base of each team. The NFL is in London and in Mexico City. The global presence is known worldwide.
So now what?
The industry is shady and it needs to be taken over… or does it? The most controversial move in hip hop and sports history has recently taken place. Both sides of the aisle are in deep thought and in the discussion. How can the greatest MC in history partner pull a move like this? Let’s unpack this…let’s review.
Now Enter Shawn Corey Carter. The greatest rapper of all time. The influence. The gift of gab. You get it! The blueprint decided to step in. He created a new lane. He didn’t duck any questions and now the conversation is uncomfortable. Sometimes, it has to be that way to enact change. Well, mercy me… now he wants to own an NFL team. More importantly, he said we are past kneeling. He said where is the action. Kaepernick believes in this and he sacrificed his career for it. Remember, Kaepernick settled the case and only received $10 million for it. Jay-Z said we are stuck with Kaepernick not having a job and never said whether he would kneel or stand. Jay-Z supported him, he wore his jersey on Saturday Night Live and performed. He understood his path. Jay-Z did in fact speak to Kaepernick according to Jemele Hill. Beware, that the timing is indeed interesting. This conference occurred on the exact anniversary of Colin’s first protest.
This move feels something like another album that he just finished. A pump fake to the world. He teamed up with the NFL in a partnership with his entertainment company, Roc Nation, in which it will advise the league on major performances like the Super Bowl. In essence, it is a high-level concert for the halftime show which will be live in front of almost a billion people worldwide. Roc Nation will also play a role in the Inspire Change initiative launched by the NFL. This is a good start, but it presents one problem that many people see, this deal does not include the free agent player Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick has created his own social media initiatives such as the Million Dollar Pledge and donated money to charities in which it was matched by celebrities. The NFL suffered greatly on the bottom line. The viewers dropped due to the protest movement. Many fans wanted to never come back to the NFL because of this. He started the Know Your Rights camp which teaches disadvantaged youth about their legal rights and gives them self-empowerment. Social media is calling out Jay-Z by saying he should work with Kaepernick to advance the issue forward. However, Jay has indeed pushed the culture forward through initiatives that helped people such as Meek Mill, Lil Wayne, and a host of other people. Jay-Z has brought attention to the Kalief Browder case and cast a huge spotlight on a huge documentary series on Trayvon Martin. He partnered with REFORM Alliance which is a group that will seek to limit the people serving unfair probation and parole sentences.
I was taught that faith without works is dead. Well, I ask people to educate us on the works. But for now, we should know and understand that Jay has the opportunity to do something no black man has done in the NFL, which is to become a majority owner. He is the only other male celebrity black billionaire with the wealth, business acumen, and the assets to pull this off. I repeat! The only other one. His wealth is tied into a project like Tidal. A music and video streaming service that is now worth a whopping $600 million after only investing $56 million. His champagne and cognac are considered premier. He has a sports agency and Roc Nation that has a host of talent to include probably your favorite player or entertainer.
He invested in JetSmarter, which is Uber and Lyft for the private jet industry. He will still continue to perform after signing a 200-million-dollar deal to do so. Real estate, art, and other ventures will mean that his income is not stopping anytime soon. Sure, there are minority owners such as Serena and Venus Williams of the Miami Dolphins, but majority ownership would be a major move. There is only one majority owner that is black in the three major sports and that is Michael Jordan who needs no introduction.
People are saying that this move was selfish because he is a businessman and all about his business, man. We must also understand that it is a business and the show must go on. No monetary amount was specified in the social initiatives that would be formed, however, we should not doubt this move. Change can occur in sports in an instant. Change is constant. This is not the elevator incident. This is a chance to get a seat at the table.
For years, the urban community wanted a seat at the table. A chance to place the issue at the forefront. Well, here is the once in a lifetime shot. This means he is more than capable of holding it down on his own but can become a whole mood with some help. While sitting beside the commissioner, Jay can press the NFL to act accordingly and let players exercise their first amendment rights. But, also, the community as a whole must hold him accountable for these actions.
I present this thought. What if? What if Jay was to own an NFL team and actually get more black millionaires involved like Sean Combs, Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and even Beyoncé involved in minority stakes. Then what, maybe they can hire Kaepernick back into the league.
Many people have an issue still because this move appears to be a sell-out to many. Jay-Z is hip-hop’s first-ever billionaire and the masses feel that the NFL needs him more than he needs them. Social media is calling this a coverup job for blackballing Kaepernick. Regardless of how you feel, he won’t be back in the league anytime soon. So, there is a decision to be made, either you can sit idle, block out the league by not watching, or you can keep watching. Let us know how you feel.