Three years after former San Francisco 49ers players Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid decided to take a public stand against racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem, the National Football League (NFL) has formed a strategic partnership with Roc Nation, the entertainment company founded by rapper and businessman Jay-Z, to combat social injustice.
Jay-Z has criticised the league in recent times over the apparent unofficial exiling of Kaepernick and previously referred to the former quarterback as an “iconic figure” and even called on fellow musician Travis Scott to pull out of performing at last year’s Super Bowl ahead of the game.
However, Jay-Z has decided to heal old wounds and help the NFL ‘nurture and strengthen community through football and music’, with a particular focus on contributing to the North American football league’s Inspire Change initiative.
The multi-year deal will also see Roc Nation help to improve the NFL’s live game experiences by advising the league on the selection of artists for major events such as the season-ending Super Bowl halftime show.
“With its global reach, the National Football League has the platform and opportunity to inspire change across the country,” Jay-Z said.
“Roc Nation has shown that entertainment and enacting change are not mutually exclusive ideas — instead, we unify them.
“This partnership is an opportunity to strengthen the fabric of communities across America.”
In addition, the company plans to work with the NFL to create and distribute content on various music streaming services.
“Roc Nation is one of the most globally influential and impactful organisations in entertainment,” NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, said.
“The NFL and Roc Nation share a vision of inspiring meaningful social change across our country.”
Kaepernick has been without an NFL team since 2017, which led many to turn against the league over alleged collusion against the 31-year-old, so the newly formed alliance is hoped to turn the tide on the critics.
“We don’t want people to come in and necessarily agree with us; we want people to come in and tell us what we can do better,” Goodell added.