TMZ: Jay-Z to Purchase 'Significant Ownership Interest' in Undisclosed NFL Team

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 16, 2019

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR NFL - NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, left, and Jay-Z appear at a news conference at ROC Nation on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019 in New York. The NFL and ROC Nation, Jay-Z’s entertainment and sports representation company, announced Tuesday they were teaming up for events and social activism, a deal Jay-Z said had been in the works over the last seven months. (Ben Hider/AP Images for NFL)
Ben Hider/Associated Press

Jay-Z, who co-led Roc Nation's recently announced entertainment and social justice partnership with the NFL, will soon have "significant ownership interest" in a team, according to TMZ Sports.

The team is unknown, but a source said that the ownership stake will "happen in the near future."

That source added that Jay-Z is "a huge fan, already has a sports business and wants to continue to be a change agent for the NFL."

Roc Nation, the entertainment company that Jay-Z founded in 2008, "is entering into a multiyear partnership with the NFL to enhance the NFL's live game experiences and to amplify the league's social justice efforts," according to NFL.com.

Roc Nation will help decide artists for the Super Bowl and other major NFL events. The partnership also plans to serve communities through the league's Inspire Change initiative.

Multiple sources have insinuated the Roc Nation-NFL partnership may have been partially motivated by Jay-Z's reported desire to acquire an ownership stake in an NFL team. Of note, Justin Tinsley of The Undefeated, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk and Terez Paylor of Yahoo Sports posited that case. Florio wrote:

"When Jay-Z decided to launch a sports agency six years ago, a well-connected league insider explained Jay-Z’s ambition in simple terms: He wants to own a team.

"[Wednesday's] deal with the NFL nudges Jay-Z far closer to that goal, if that indeed is the objective. He now has a formal relationship with the league, giving other owners a chance to get to know him well, naturally allowing the development of a familiarity that most potential owners never have when they show up and try to buy a team."

As Tinsley and Paylor noted, Jay-Z would become the first black team owner in NFL history.

Regardless of the intentions, Roc Nation and the NFL have encountered significant criticism in the wake of their announcement.

The backlash primarily surrounds ex-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has been out of NFL work since protesting social injustice and systemic oppression during the 2016 NFL season. Jemele Hill of The Atlantic wrote:

"It’s easy to see why Kaepernick would be upset now. The partnership with Jay-Z is part of the NFL’s larger strategy to continue to absolve itself of what happened to the quarterback and throw enough money at social-justice causes so that the players will no longer feel the need to protest—or, at the very least, keep their opinions about racial injustice far away from the football field."

Paul Newberry of the Associated Press also called Jay-Z a "total sellout," and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid questioned the NFL's timing soon after Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross received backlash after holding a fundraiser for President Donald Trump.

Jay-Z has defended the deal on numerous occasions.

“Everyone’s saying, ‘How are you going forward if Kaep doesn’t have a job?’ This was not about him having a job. That became part of it,” Jay-Z told Mesfin Fekadu of the Associated Press and other reporters at an invite-only press conference announcing the deal Wednesday.

“We know what it is—now how do we address that injustice? What’s the way forward?"

Jay-Z referenced the NFL's "huge platform" before the following remarks: "I believe real change is had through conversation, real conversation and real work...and what better way to do it than where the conversation first took place."

Per Fekadu, Roc Nation will co-produce the Super Bowl LIV show in Miami on February 2, 2020. The performers have not been announced.