© Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
On Wednesday, the NFL announced it had partnered with Jay-Z and his company, Roc Nation, for a deal centered around music and social justice initiatives in the NFL. As part of the deal, Jay-Z will help promote the NFL’s social justice initiatives by creating opportunities for players to speak about issues and become a co-producer of the Super Bowl halftime show. There was a clear missing element of the deal: Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick, since kneeling in protest of a number of police shootings of unarmed people of color in 2016 – in his final season before he entered free agency – has been unable to get a job. Eric Reid, who joined Kaepernick in kneeling with the 49ers, and who now plays for the Carolina Panthers, ripped into Jay-Z for the deal, after Jay-Z said the following regarding Kaepernick’s exclusion:
“… everybody knows I agree with what you’re saying [in Kaepernick’s underlying message]. So what are we gonna do? … [Help] millions and millions of people, or we get stuck on Colin not having a job.”
Reid’s response was direct:
These aren’t mutually exclusive. They can both happen at the same time! It looks like your goal was to make millions and millions of dollars by assisting the NFL in burying Colin’s career. https://t.co/LFBZpbj2tw
— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) August 15, 2019
Reid continued, explaining that neither he nor Kaepernick had an issue with the NFL before he says he and Kaepernick were effectively blackballed from the league.
about people of color by forming numerous disingenuous partnerships to address social injustice while collectively blackballing Colin, the person who brought oppression and social injustice to the forefront of the NFL platform.
— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) August 14, 2019
The NFL, Kaepernick and Reid came to a deal for an undisclosed settlement in March of 2019, which, according to the New York Times, paid “considerably less” than $10 million, with much of the settlement going to both players’ lawyers. Kaepernick and Reid reportedly received roughly equal amounts to what their lawyers received.
Kaepernick and Jay-Z reportedly spoke after the deal was brokered, which, according to a source quoted by Jemele Hill of The Atlantic, “… was not a good conversation.”
Here is Kaepernick’s response to the deal after it emerged:
Today marks the three year anniversary of the first time I protested systemic oppression. I continue to work and stand with the people in our fight for liberation, despite those who are trying to erase the movement! The movement has always lived with the people! ✊🏾
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) August 14, 2019
Some might question whether Kaepernick would even be ready to play in the NFL if offered a chance. The video below, posted by Kaepernick on August 7, is his answer to that question.
5am. 5 days a week. For 3 years. Still Ready. pic.twitter.com/AGczejA1rM
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) August 7, 2019