The National Football League is trying to move forward after three years of turmoil and alienation of much of its fan base over former quarterback Colin Kaepernick taking a knee rather than honoring the flag, the national anthem, and law enforcement. However, Kaepernick supporters are digging in and promising to continue to bring the pain.
The league would like nothing more than for social justice activities to move off the playing field, and as part of that goal, the league has partnered with rapper Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter to become the NFL’s live music entertainment strategist. The deal reportedly also lays the groundwork for Carter to become a part owner of a team. Eventually, Carter aims to become the first black majority owner of an NFL team.
On the surface, the move seemed promising as the league tries to change the face of the U.S. sports world’s biggest ongoing success story–professional football. But social justice warriors have not been subdued in their defiance.
Playboy called the NFL-Carter deal a “gut punch.” The New York Daily News said Jay-Z “sold Kaepernick out.” Infamous race-baiting Atlantic writer Jemele Hill wrote: “Jay-Z has given the NFL exactly what it wanted: guilt-free access to black audiences, culture, entertainers, and influencers.”
Dave Zirin of The Nation accused Jay-Z of “erasing” Kaepernick for his own enrichment. “None of this is about social justice. It’s not about, as Shawn Carter put it, ‘helping millions and millions of people.’ This partnership is happening because Shawn Carter is a billionaire who wants to be an NFL owner, and erasing Colin Kaepernick is the price of admission,” Zirin wrote. “Now Shawn Carter gets to multiply his fortune, and the NFL believes they will no longer be branded as racist, or have to schedule skim-milk Super Bowl halftime shows headlined by Maroon 5.”
The headline on Zirin’s column seemed to be intended as the worst indictment he could come up with: “Jay-Z Isn’t a Sellout, He’s a Capitalist.”
In the social-justice universe today, it doesn’t get any worse than being branded a capitalist.
“The thing about Black Capitalism is it’s still capitalism,” tweeted staff writer Adam Serwer of The Atlantic. “Which means when there’s a conflict between uplifting people and uplifting profits, the latter takes precedence.”
The thing about Black Capitalism is it’s still capitalism. Which means when there’s a conflict between uplifting people and uplifting profits, the latter takes precedence. Read @jemelehill https://t.co/zMjSzslFwb
— Adam Serwer? (@AdamSerwer) August 18, 2019
It may be that this whole thing becomes not only a fight over patriotism and conservative values, but it could be morphing into a socialist war on capitalism. The NFL is a big target, with annual revenues exceeding over $13 billion.
The players who are making millions of dollars for playing a game are not well-advised to continue gnawing on the hands of those who are feeding them. Some bottom-line clarity: It’s still a free country … take the protests outside. Most paying customers don’t want to be preached to about political issues when all they want is to be entertained.
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