Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick encouraged his friends Eric Reid, Kenny Stills, and Albert Wilson II to continue kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem—the movement Kaepernick helped start—ahead of the start of the NFL season.
In a tweet, Kaepernick said these individuals “put their beliefs into action,” adding they should “Stay strong.”
My Brothers @E_Reid35 @KSTiLLS @iThinkIsee12 continue to fight for the people, even in the face of death threats. They have never moved past the people and continue to put their beliefs into action. Stay strong Brothers!!! ✊? pic.twitter.com/OQClsZXD5V
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) August 18, 2019
The NFL is currently playing its preseason games with the official season set to kick off on September 5, 2019, with the Chicago Bears hosting the Green Bay Packers.
The tweet also comes amid the NFL’s partnership with Roc Nation to help with their live music entertainment selections.
The Western Journal reports:
The announcement from Roc Nation involves a bunch of the usual corporate synergies (for instance, new music released for the NFL as “Songs of the Season” was floated as a possibility), but there was also this bit:
“A core component of the partnership will be to amplify the Inspire Change platform priority areas identified by NFL Players, including Education and Economic Advancement, Improving Police-Community Relations, and Criminal Justice Reform,” the release read.
At the news conference announcing the initiative, Jay-Z said that “we’ve moved past kneeling” as a form of change.
At the conference, ESPN reports Jay-Z said: “We forget that Colin’s whole thing was to bring attention to social injustice. In that case, this is a success. This is the next phase.”
He continued: “There [are] two parts of protesting. You go outside and you protest, and then the company or the individual says, ‘I hear you. What do we do next?’
“For me it’s like action, [an] actionable item, what are we gonna do with it?” the music and cultural icon asked. “Everyone heard, we hear what you’re saying, and everybody knows I agree with what you’re saying [in Kaepernick’s underlying message]. So what are we gonna do? You know what I’m saying? [Help] millions and millions of people, or we get stuck on Colin not having a job.”
NFL safety Eric Reid, who was named by Kaepernick in the above tweet, denounced the comment and said Jay-Z was abetting the NFL in “burying Colin’s career.”
“These aren’t mutually exclusive. They can both happen at the same time! It looks like your goal was to make millions and millions of dollars by assisting the NFL in burying Colin’s career,” Reid tweeted.
These aren’t mutually exclusive. They can both happen at the same time! It looks like your goal was to make millions and millions of dollars by assisting the NFL in burying Colin’s career. https://t.co/LFBZpbj2tw
— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) August 15, 2019
about people of color by forming numerous disingenuous partnerships to address social injustice while collectively blackballing Colin, the person who brought oppression and social injustice to the forefront of the NFL platform.
— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) August 14, 2019
The Western Journal reports:
Kaepernick’s girlfriend, radio host Nessa Diab (known simply as “Nessa”), also sounded off on Jay-Z for making the deal.
“I don’t mind you doing a business deal — but I do mind you wrapping it in social justice when you’re working with an organization that denies someone an opportunity,” she said on her radio show, according to the U.K. Guardian.
Meanwhile, on Instagram: “It’s typical for the NFL to buy different PR looks to cover up their dirt — that’s nothing new. But what is disgusting and disappointing is Jay-Z let them use him.”
ESPN reports Goodell was aware that his decision to partner with Roc Nation would be subject to criticisms.
“I don’t think either one of us expected that this relationship wouldn’t have its critics,” Goodell said via the report. “But you don’t let the critics or the negativity overwhelm the chance to do something really positive. We talked about this [Kaepernick’s situation].
“We talked about a variety of issues. When we first met, we talked about entertainment and how we do that. But the No. 1 thing we went to was impact, that we can have an impact together, and that we can do some really positive things in our communities,” the NFL commissioner said.
Kaepernick did not comment on the deal, but he posted a tweet later Wednesday.
“Today marks the three year anniversary of the first time I protested systemic oppression,” he wrote in the tweet. “I continue to work and stand with the people in our fight for liberation, despite those who are trying to erase the movement! The movement has always lived with the people!”