Earlier this week, it was announced that the NFL would be hosting a workout for Colin Kaepernick. The 32-year-old former San Francisco 49ers quarterback hasn't played in a game since the 2016 season, which many believe is a result of Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality. 24 teams are expected to attend the Saturday workout, including the New York Giants, New England Patriots, and Atlanta Falcons.
It was also reported that JAY-Z, who made "an entertainment and social justice partnership" between Roc Nation and NFL earlier this year that led to some controversy, played a part in making that workout happen. Longtime sportscaster and radio host Dan Patrick said he heard similiar claims, and cited a source who said JAY personally urged NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to make it happen.
"According to my source, JAY-Z said that he took a reputational bullet for the commissioner when they had that press conference [with] his new role in the NFL," Patrick said on The Dan Patrick Show, referencing the criticism JAY faced when the partnership was first announced. "Social agenda. Social injustice. He was gonna help with the entertainment for halftime. All of this. My source said that JAY-Z was pressuring the commissioner to do the right thing and have this workout for Colin Kaepernick."
He continued, "JAY-Z said, 'Hey, look, I don't want to be viewed as a sellout here. Now those are my words, not his, but he was saying 'reputational bullet.'" In a follow-up tweet, Patrick added that other sources have called the "JAY-Z narrative" another "distraction to take away from the opportunity facilitated by the NFL for Colin Kaepernick."
A source close to the situation reiterated to Complex that "any JAY-Z narrative seems like a distraction to take away from the opportunity facilitated by the NFL."
Shortly after the deal was announced, JAY addressed the controversy and answered a question about what will happen to Kaepernick now that he's involved with the NFL. "I think that we forget that Colin's whole thing was to bring attention to social injustice," JAY said. "In that case, this is a success. This is the next thing because there's two parts of the protest."
Kaepernick's attorney Mark Geragos was among those who criticized JAY. "This deal between JAY-Z and the NFL crossed the intellectual picket line," Geragos said. "I can confirm to you that the deal was already done prior to any conversation that [Kaepernick] had with JAY-Z and he certainly didn't have any conversations with the NFL."