The NFL announced the formation of the "entertainment and social justice partnership" with Jay-Z's Roc Nation last week.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills does not agree with Jay-Z's decision to partner with the NFL on some of the league's entertainment and social justice endeavors.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Stills, who has been kneeling before games in support of former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and to protest social injustice, said Jay-Z's involvement with the NFL "doesn't sit right with me" and criticized the rapper for his comments during the partnership's introductory news conference.
"I think we’ve moved past kneeling and I think it’s time to go into actionable items," Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, said last week.
"He could have reached out to Colin,” Stills said. "He could have reached out to me. Some of the ways that he answered his questions, talking about ‘We’re moving past kneeling’ — like he ever protested. He’s not an NFL player. He’s never been on a knee."
"I wonder how many common people that he knows or that he’s spoken to," Stills added. "I wonder if he’s read my Facebook comments or my Instagram comments or some of the things that people say to me... To be able to speak on it and say we’re moving past something — it didn’t seem very informed."
Kenny Stills on Jay-Z/NFL paternship: "Talking about we're moving past kneeling like he ever protested... Choosing to speak for the people like he had spoken to the people... I wonder if he's read my Facebook/IG comments or what people say to me... It didn't seem very informed." pic.twitter.com/QGak3JKCcO— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) August 19, 2019
More Kenny Stills on Jay-Z/NFL paternship: "They've done a good job shifting the problem to Roc Nation/Shawn Carter's shoulders... I'm going to try to give this man the benefit of the doubt for now, but it doesn't sit right with me. It's not something I agree with or respect. pic.twitter.com/uqCEBHoyv5— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) August 19, 2019
The NFL announced the formation of the "entertainment and social justice partnership" with Jay-Z's group last week. The deal makes Roc Nation co-producers of the Super Bowl halftime show and gives the group the power to choose entertainers to perform in NFL content throughout the season, as well as the opportunity to work with the league's current social justice campaigns, among other things.
Panthers safety Eric Reid also ripped the new agreement, calling the partnership "disingenuous" given the "collective blackballing" of Kaepernick.
Reid and Kaepernick sued the NFL and alleged that teams colluded in not signing them because of their protest. The case was settled earlier this year. Reid has continued his NFL career with the Panthers but Kaepernick remains unsigned.
Jay-Z reportedly turned down the opportunity to perform at Super Bowl LI in 2018. At a concert around the same time, Jay-Z dedicated a song to Kaepernick and has been seen wearing Kaepernick jerseys. The rapper has been a vocal supporter of the free-agent quarterback since he began kneeling and has been the subject of considerable backlash on social media following the announcement of Roc Nation's partnership with the same league he criticized just one year ago.
"I'm going to try to give this man the benefit of the doubt for now, but it doesn't sit right with me," Stills said. "It's not something I agree with or respect."
Kaepernick voiced his support of Reid and Stills in light of Jay-Z's partnership and comments, taking to Twitter to thank both of them for having "never moved past the people."
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
"My Brothers @E_Reid35 @KSTiLLS @iThinkIsee12 continue to fight for the people, even in the face of death threats," Kaepernick wrote. "They have never moved past the people and continue to put their beliefs into action. Stay strong Brothers!!!"