Colin Kaepernick @Kaepernick7
You never turned your back on me or the people, even when the nfl tried to silence your voice & the movement. You’ve never flinched or wavered. I love you Brother! Let’s get it! @E_Reid35 And to the people - I see you, I hear you and I love you! Thank you for having my back!!!✊🏾 https://t.co/kBJ1SCBYIq
Reid, among others, was critical of Jay-Z—who has supported Kaepernick in the past—for partnering with the NFL while Kaepernick has remained unsigned for the past three offseasons:
At the introductory press conference for the partnership between Roc Nation and the NFL, Jay-Z fielded numerous questions about his past relationship with Kaepernick and defended his decision to work with the NFL, per Jason Reid of The Undefeated:
"We forget that Colin's whole thing was to bring attention to social injustice. In that case, this is a success. This is the next phase. There [are] 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?'
"For me it's like action, [an] actionable item, what are we gonna do with it? Everyone heard, we hear what you're saying, and everybody knows I agree with what you're saying [in Kaepernick's underlying message]. So what are we gonna do? You know what I'm saying? [Help] millions and millions of people, or we get stuck on Colin not having a job."
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also spoke about the partnership:
"I don't think either one of us expected that this relationship wouldn't have its critics. But you don't let the critics or the negativity overwhelm the chance to do something really positive. We talked about this [Kaepernick's situation].
"We talked about a variety of issues. When we first met, we talked about entertainment and how we do that. But the No. 1 thing we went to was impact, that we can have an impact together, and that we can do some really positive things in our communities."
But Reid wasn't alone in standing up for Kaepernick and questioning both the NFL's and Jay-Z's motives after the announcement:
Ernest Owens @MrErnestOwens
So the NFL is forming an entertainment and "social justice" partnership with Jay-Z and his Roc Nation agency. Jay Z hasn't spoken with Colin Kaepernick about this and yet says he was an "inspiration." If this isn't Black capitalism exploiting the movement I don't know what is.
Kaepernick became a figure of national controversy in the 2016 season for protesting police brutality and racial injustice by kneeling during the playing of the national anthem before NFL games. He hasn't played since that season, and many have concluded he has been blackballed by the NFL and its team owners.
Kaepernick and Reid—who was a free agent in the 2018 offseason and went unsigned until September of that year—sued the NFL for collusion, reaching a confidential settlement with the league.
Jay-Z was supportive of Kaepernick in the past, wearing his jersey during a 2017 performance on Saturday Night Live.
Per Jem Aswad of Variety, that same year he told the crowd at a Miami concert: "I want y'all to understand, when people are kneeling and putting their fists up in the air and doing what they're doing, it's not about the flag, it's about justice. It's about injustice. And that's not a black or white thing, it's a human issue."