Texts stay with us forever.
in 2018, Jay Z said:“I said no to the Super Bowl, you need me, I don’t need you / Every night we’re in the end zone / We tell the NFL we’re in stadiums too.” A year later, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation partnered with the NFL—for an unspecified amount that we still don’t know—”to enhance the NFL’s live gaming experiences and strengthen the league’s social justice efforts.”
Since then, a lot of bad things have happened in the world of social and racial justice in America – and especially in the NFL. And since we’re in this moment where the NFL has been rocked by Brian Flores’ 58-Page Class-Action Lawsuit against the league, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants and the Denver Broncos for discrimination related to his interview process, it is not fair to ask:
“Where’s Jay Z?”
Below is a list of some really bad things that have happened to black people when it comes to racial and social justice issues and the NFL since that fateful day when Jay-Z said, “we’ve gone beyond kneeling.”
• Roger Goodell informed us that he and the competition “went on‘ by Colin Kaepernick after they tried at the last minute to stage a sham of a workout for him in Atlanta that would be shut down from the media. Jay-Z was nowhere to be seen.
• In the summer of 2020, following the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, and the shooting of Jacob Blake, entire sports were paused and got down on one knee in peaceful protests. MLB and NHL players even knelt, along with Nancy Pelosi. Jay-Z still hasn’t taken back his “kneeling” comments that have been proven wrong.
• A group of celebrities pooled their money to buy billionaire New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft – who ever had? prostitution costs against him – a brand new Bentley or his 80th birthday. Jay-Z made his appearance.
• When the NFL Agreed to End Race Norms — the practice of adjusting test scores to account for the race or ethnicity of the test taker — in their $1 billion settlement that prevented black players from receiving payouts they were rightfully owed, Jay-Z kept quiet.
• Jon Gruden was fired because his old emails revealed he was racist, homophobic and misogynistic. He made comments about NFL Players Association president DeMaurice Smith — a black man — in 2011 when he said “Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin [sic] tires.” Everyone had something to say about this except Jay-Z.
• Right now when Brian Flores and Hue Jackson discussing the fate of black head coaches in the NFL, which has been a problem for decades, we are still waiting for Jay-Z to do something.
In the name of balance, for all the people who still choose to be in denial about how Jay-Z’s association with the NFL is nothing more than a selfish business/power move rather than an “uplifting gesture,” he portrays that for Black it’s America — I want to point out that in 2020, Jay-Z helped Mississippi inmates with file two lawsuits about the appalling conditions in which they were forced to live. He probably also played a big part in reaching out to his friends Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar to make them perform in the Blackest Super Bowl Halftime of all time
But if that’s all we can really refer to as feats of getting him a “seat at the table”, then what was it all for? Because if you think this is “inspiring change,” I’m here to let you know it isn’t. And to think this all started when Jay-Z bragged about the NFL on a song. No wonder he’s trying to get lawmakers to pass a bill that prevents rap lyrics from being used in court.