Rapper Jay-Z recently sat down with New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet to discuss a variety of topics, including music and being black in America. Jay-Z also shared his thoughts about free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick and political activism in the NBA and NFL.
Kaepernick remains a free agent after opting out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers in March. Last season, he started protesting during the national anthem by taking a knee to raise awareness for racial and social injustice in America.
Baquet asks Jay-Z whether he would sign Kaepernick to a contract if he were an NFL owner. Jay-Z, who recently wore a Kaepernick jersey while performing on Saturday Night Live, said he would.
Jay-Z, who has never met the quarterback but spoken over the phone with him, believes that if Kaepernick had not protested, he would have been signed by a team.
Baquet also asked Jay-Z about his views on political activism in the NBA and NFL. Baquet asked Jay-Z whether he felt the NBA was more "politically active" than the NFL, and Jay-Z said he did.
"I think because, first of all, it's smaller numbers," Jay-Z toldThe New York Times. "It's 12 people on a team. In football you have 53 people. So it's harder to get 53 people thinking the same thing. It's easier to have a conversation to get 12 people on the same page. For one. Two, [the NBA has] a great ... they have a great commissioner who's really open. And, you know, supports them. And you feel that. You feel like, you know, when you have someone behind you that really believe in what's right, it motivates you to do the right thing. I think those two factors show why they're much further along."
Before the season, Silver said that he expected NBA players to continue standing for the national anthem. The league has a rule that says players, coaches and trainers are required to stand and line up in a dignified posture during the national anthem before games. Jay-Z was a minority owner of the Brooklyn Nets before shifting his focus to representing his athletes with his agency.