Jay-Z is baffled by the overwhelmingly negative response to his lucrative new deal with the National Football League to provide halftime entertainment and launch a social justice campaign. Friends say Jay-Z, 50, believed using the USA's biggest sports platform to advance a worthy cause - social injustice - would be well received by everyone. He was wrong.
The aging rap mogul has come under fire for undermining the work done by NFL free agent Colin Kaepernick who was blackballed after he took a knee during the National Anthem to bring attention to police brutality.
The Wall Street Journal reports Jay-Z was "shocked" that his new deal with the league was being interpreted by some as backstabbing Kaepernick. The father-of-5 reportedly called Kaepernick a day before he announced his joint partnership. But Kaepernick's girlfriend, Nessa, said that was a lie.
Eric Reid, the Carolina Panthers safety and former teammate of Kaepernick's, took offense after Jay-Z said "We're past kneeling."
Calling the rapper a "sell out," Reid said, "For one, when has Jay-Z ever taken a knee? ... 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 to say that we're past kneeling? Again, asinine."
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills said: "I feel like Jay-Z really discredited Colin and myself and the work that's being done in our communities."
And businessman Dame Dash, who founded Rocafella Records with Jay-Z in 1995, said in an interview, "Everybody knows Jay ain't shit."
The NFL is now walking back reports that Beyonce's husband will become part owner of a NFL franchise. According to CBS News, there are no plans in place for Jigga to become an NFL owner.
The NFL assumed Jay-Z's influence within the Black community would entice more Black people to buy tickets to games or tune into football coverage on television. But they were wrong.
The NFL's much-hyped deal with the former drug dealer has turned into a PR nightmare for the league.