Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter defended the entertainment deal his company, Roc Nation,
made with the NFL this week during a press conference with commissioner Roger
Goodell on Wednesday, amid criticism that the deal contradicts Carter's
support of Colin Kaepernick.
Carter and Goodell were asked repeatedly about Kaepernick, who has gone unsigned since the end of the 2016 season after drawing national attention for kneeling during the national anthem in protest of social injustice.
Carter has publicly supported Kaepernick in the past, including wearing a teamless Kaepernick jersey during an appearance on Saturday Night Live in 2017. Asked if Roc Nation's partnership with the NFL goes against his support of Kaepernick, Carter said the partnership will actually further the quarterback's message.
"We forget that Colin's whole thing was to bring attention to social injustice," Carter said. "In that case, this is a success. This is the next phase. There two parts of protesting. You go outside and you protest, and then the company or the individual says, 'I hear you. What do we do next?'
"... Everyone heard, we hear what you're saying, and everybody knows I agree with (Kaepernick's message). So what are we gonna do? You know what I'm saying? millions and millions of people, or we get stuck on Colin not having a job."
The deal, which the NFL announced Wednesday, named Roc Nation the league's "official live music entertainment strategists," with the group expected to play a major role in major events like the Super Bowl halftime show. The league also said the partnership will support its Inspire Change social justice initiative, a nonprofit established by the NFL's owners and the Players Coalition in December 2017 that included $89 million in funding from the league.
Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid -- a close friend and supporter of Kaepernick's who withdrew from the Players Coalition because he disagreed with its vision -- criticized the Roc Nation-NFL partnership Tuesday on Twitter.
"I won't quit playing but I will be a royal pain in the NFL's a** for acting like they care 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," Reid wrote.
Goodell told reporters he anticipated criticism over the partnership, but that it wouldn't prevent a deal from getting done.
"I don't think either one of us expected that this relationship wouldn't have its critics," Goodell said. "But you don't let the critics or the negativity overwhelm the chance to do something really positive. We talked about (Kaepernick's situation). We talked about a variety of issues."