In August, Jay-Z and his Roc Nation imprint inked a partnership with the National Football League (NFL) that pins social justice at the top of its list of priorities. The deal received backlash from those opposed to the NFL’s controversial practices and treatment of Colin Kaepernick, but according to a league insider, Jay-Z might’ve played a role in the quarterback’s potential to re-enter the sport.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Jay-Z “had some influence” concerning Kaepernick’s invitation to a private workout with NFL clubs. The news was made public on Tuesday (Nov. 12), but immediately stirred up rumors of it being a PR stunt. “I am also told that Jay-Z, who has been working with the NFL on some social justice initiatives, was involved in this and pushed this idea to some extent,” Rapoport said.
Two notes: 1. Jay-Z, a partner with the NFL on social justice, had some influence here. 2. This is not part of Kaepernick’s settlement, nor did he ask for this in his settlement. https://t.co/6l7z3MYJ5x
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 13, 2019
Rapoport isn’t the only sports news professional to mention Jay-Z’s name in the same sentence as Kaepernick’s. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith believes the billionaire mogul played a role in the invitation.
“Clearly there appears to be a collective effort that has taken place to include these teams with league participation and league approval, obviously, so it appears to be something very, very serious and the only thing that can get in the way of Colin Kaepernick being back in the NFL is if he refuses to shut up and/or he goes out there and shows that he can’t play,” Smith said.
Following his partnership announcement, Jay-Z stated that it’s time to make tangible moves to revamp the league’s social justice initiatives. “I think we’re past kneeling,” he said. “I think it’s time for action.” As a means of protesting, Kaepernick would kneel during the national anthem to bring awareness to police brutality and other injustices that affect minorities.
The workout will take place on Saturday (Nov. 16) where representatives from various NFL teams will assess if Kaepernick is ready to take the field again. This will mark the first time Kaepernick will be able to showcase his skills since being out of the league for three years.