Jay-Z
Jay-Z (Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com)

Op-Ed: Jay-Z/NFL

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This is what we called co-option in the sixties. It was the worst sin possible, to get into bed with the opposition when they offered a carrot stick, but not the whole meal.

This is about money and fame folks. That’s one thing the NFL’s got, at least for now, cash. Did you see what Roger Goodell makes? More than almost any musical performer. And other than taxes, it’s all net. There are no touring costs, they’re picked up by the league.

So Jay Z refuses to do the Super Bowl in solidarity with Kaepernick, but now he’s throwing in with the NFL?

God, of all the professional sports, football is the most like a plantation. The players, to a great degree African-Americans, are told what to do and if they break rank, they’re out. All the while exposing themselves to bodily harm and possibly dementia and early death while the fat cat white owners sit in safety. Maybe you have to play in a game to become an owner, see how the other half lives.

So now the NFL struggle is over. No one can stand up to the man because Jay caved.

Of course, this is good for exposure, i.e. hip-hop at the Super Bowl, the NFL has ignored the sound the league runs on forever.

But that’s like allowing you to sleep indoors but not eat at the dining table.

But that’s how far we’ve come, everybody wants to be a mogul. Meanwhile, all these entertainment wannabes aren’t even in the league of the billionaires who own these teams. They’re minstrels, puppets on a string. This is all about money, and you ain’t got enough of it, so they don’t respect you. Why don’t you ask them to let you become a member of Augusta National, or the Bohemian Grove. No they don’t want you in their house, and Jay Z is single-handedly holding back the future of African-Americans in society.

As for saying Kaepernick’s suit has been settled and we have to move on…how about Kaepernick himself? Jay had leverage. He could have insisted that Colin get a tryout, and that he couldn’t be cut unless a panel of independent coaches said he was worse than the guy who took his job.


This is America, as Donald Glover would say. Where it’s all for me.

Jay Z’s leverage is his fame and influence amongst his followers. The NFL knows that if they get Jay on their team, they put a hole in dissension. Who’s gonna side with a player protesting when Jay’s in with the owners?

Now theoretically, Jay’s fans, the community, could protest his action, he could pull out, like Chappelle did with Comedy Central. Contracts are only a sketch, they’re not law and they’re made to be broken and redone. So Jay Z’s got room here. But he’s so busy being a business, man, that he can no longer do the right thing.

We revere those who do the right thing. Who’ve got credibility. Who don’t defend someone like Kap and then sell him out.

What kind of bizarre world do we live in where a corporation, Nike, stands up to the NFL, defends and invests in Kaepernick, and Jay Z says there’s no choice but to play by the white man’s rules?

No wonder music doesn’t drive the culture, no wonder it’s a second class citizen.

Music is about truth, and when you undermine that you’ve got nothing, you’re a pop artist, only as good as your last hit.

We revere those who speak from their hearts and walk the walk and talk the talk. Who don’t do what’s expedient, who follow their heart as opposed to the cash.

How much money did Martin Luther King, Jr. have? Gandhi?


Those are the people who are remembered.

And John Lennon, because he spoke truth to power.

That’s the power of a musician.

Once you’ve been co-opted you’re meaningless. Money doesn’t keep you warm at night.

We all make mistakes. Jay Z made one here. He’s got to pull out.

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