By Peter Gleason
The issue of Colin Kaepernick hovered yesterday as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell appeared at a news conference with Jay-Z, the music impresario and one of Kaepernick’s most public supporters in his struggle to return to the league.
The quarterback, who helped the San Francisco 49ers reach the Super Bowl in the 2012 season, has been out of the NFL since the 2016 season, when he began kneeling through the national anthem to protest police brutality against people of color.
Jay-Z and Goodell came together to announce a deal that will make Jay-Z a co-producer of the Super Bowl halftime show. He will also help promote the league’s social justice initiatives.
If the commissioner thought that teaming up with Jay-Z would end a perception that Kaepernick had been blackballed by the league, he was mistaken.
During the news conference at Jay-Z’s office in Manhattan, Kaepernick’s name was invoked over and over in one way or another.
The first question to Jay-Z was why he had partnered with the league even though Kaepernick, 31, has been unable to land a job in the NFL despite repeatedly expressing his commitment to football.
“We forget that Colin’s whole thing was to bring attention to social injustice,” Jay-Z said. “In that case, this is a success. This is the next thing, because there are two parts to the protest — you go out and protest, and the company and individual says, ‘I hear you. What do we do next?’”
Jay-Z added that he and others could follow up Kaepernick’s protest by helping millions of people. “Or,” he said, “we can get stuck on Colin not having a job.”
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