NFL Got Their Man

I have to say… what a win for the NFL. Even with Robert Kraft’s love for the hip-hop industry, I didn’t see this coming.

Earlier this week, the NFL announced a partnership with Roc Nation. In the NFL’s release, the description of Roc Nation’s role would be to “enhance the NFL’s live game experiences and to amplify the league’s social justice efforts.”

The last part of that statement makes me feel uneasy.

Jay-Z has looked out of a lot of top floor windows but this one is a little different. This was the top floor of the NFL Commissioner’s office. Jay-Z now has a view very few in his position has ever had. One has to wonder what does he see?

The partnership with Jay-Z is a great PR win for the NFL owners. Just when Kenny Stills and Stephen Ross was starting to heat up and, heat up right before the season started, the NFL shrewdly played their trump card.

I’m not here to praise or kill Jay-Z as a person. As a businessman, this move is brilliant for him and his company.

For the 32 NFL owners, they have their “but look who we partnered with” card in their back pocket as soon as they need it. That’s good for business.

The opinions in the mythical country of Black America have been mixed.

Some have been quick to paint Jay-Z as a sellout.

Others viewed this as a step in the right direction.

Former ESPN employee, Jemele Hill wrote an article that sheds a light on how complicated the impact of the hiring truly is. It isn’t as simple as some would like for you to believe. But, the NFL owners know the core fan base likes simplicity. This is their second stab at going down this road. Remember the Social Justice Initiative?

People like, life-long advocate, Harry Edwards praised the move. In doing that, he exposed what most black males like me worry about the most. Edwards said “Credibility with black folk is not something Jay-Z lacks”.

Jay-Z isn’t representing me or any other black person. He’s representing his business and what’s best for it. I’m not mad at him for doing that. Roc Nation is a company not a social cause. It should be viewed as just that… nothing more, nothing less.

He’s not there representing a group of people. If for second he acts like he’s our universal voice then he’s overstepped his bounds and should be called out for such.

It’s only going to be a matter of time before Jay-Z is going to be put in a position where we see what he thinks his role is. That’s going to make some feel comfortable and others uncomfortable. There could be situations that might make him and his partnership with the league feel uncomfortable. There is nowhere for him to hide. Expectations, fair or unfair, have been formulated. Is Jay-Z ready for everything that comes with that?

This isn’t the rap game. Far from it. Putting together catchy lyrics isn’t going to save him from public scrutiny. If the core base of the league feels like he’s pushing the owners too far… he’ll hear it. Fans who feel like he’s doing enough for social causes will definitely be heard.

Remember that window Jay Z is looking out of? The one with the beautiful view. What does he see?

More importantly, what does he do when 32 billionaire owners are standing behind him telling him to get his people in line with their rhetoric.

Does he see individuals or just a field full of….

Only time will tell.


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