Panthers' Eric Reid Calls Jay-Z-NFL Partnership A "Money Move"
Panthers S Eric Reid "blasted" Jay-Z over the weekend for both his new partnership with the NFL and his stance on kneeling during the national anthem, according to David Newton of ESPN.com. Reid called Jay-Z's deal with the league a "money move." He said, "When has Jay-Z ever taken a knee to come out and tell us that we're past kneeling? Yes, he's done a lot of great work, a lot of great social justice work. But for you to get paid to go into an NFL press conference and say that we're past kneeling? Again, asinine. Players Coalition 2.0, he got paid to take the bullets he's taking now because we're not having it." More Reid: "I could be completely wrong, but since the $89 million announcement with the Players Coalition, what's come of that? We get to pretend we care about social justice. We get to pretend we care about the black community, and we get to hide behind [Eagles S] Malcolm Jenkins' face, and we get to hide behind Jay-Z's face and not do anything" (ESPN.com, 8/16). Reid also called the idea of Jay-Z one day becoming a part owner of an NFL team "kind of despicable." Reid: "Jay-Z claimed to be a supporter of Colin [Kaepernick] -- wore his jersey, told people not to perform at the Super Bowl because of the treatment that the NFL did to Colin. And now he’s going to be a part owner ... it’s kind of despicable" (USA TODAY, 8/19). Reid "didn't go so far as to call Jay-Z a sellout" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/17).
THE GREATER GOOD? In L.A., LZ Granderson wrote Reid is "right in calling the partnership disingenuous given the NFL’s well-established history of addressing important off-the-field matters clumsily in retrospect as opposed to proactive thoughtfulness." But if the "resources of the most powerful league in the country are utilized to improve the lives of minorities and spur real change in the criminal justice system, does it really matter if the NFL did so for publicity or Jay-Z for money?" (L.A. TIMES, 8/17). Giants RB Saquon Barkley, who is repped by Roc Nation, offered support for the Jay-Z-NFL partnership, saying the rapper is a "very smart businessman" who has had success "building his brand" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/17).
MIXED OPINIONS: In Pittsburgh, Mark Madden writes, "No matter how Jay-Z contributes to social reform via working with the NFL, the immediate effect is undeniable: Jay-Z once spoke out on Kaepernick’s behalf but is now in bed with those he spoke out against." That "helps normalize Kaepernick’s exclusion, dilutes the fight and pilfers it away from Kaepernick." Madden: "Shrewd move by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell: divide and conquer" (TRIBLIVE.com, 8/16). USA TODAY's Mike Jones wrote, "Give Jay-Z the benefit of the doubt here. Let’s see what exactly he has planned as he rolls up his sleeves and prepares to position the most powerful sports league to better assist its players’ efforts to positively affect the lives of the underprivileged." Jones also cited a source as saying that there is "currently no truth" to the report that Jay-Z is going to become part owner of a team (USA TODAY, 8/19).
KEEPING AN EYE ON THE SHIELD: In Boston, Ben Volin wrote, "The NFL’s blackballing of Kaepernick was obvious and shameful, and this partnership with Jay-Z looks little more than a league trying to shield itself from criticism, and a rapper making a boatload of money" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/18). NBCSPORTS.com's Peter King writes, "Reporters and the public should be extra vigilant to be sure this isn’t the NFL engaging Jay-Z to make the halftime shows great while doing only moderate social work. If that happens, this partnership will be a sham" (NBCSPORTS.com, 8/19).