NFL, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation to partner on entertainment and social justice programs

Aug. 13 (UPI) — The NFL reached a partnership with Jay-Z and his Roc Nation agency to manage the league’s entertainment properties and social justice efforts.

As part of the deal, Roc Nation will co-produce the Super Bowl halftime show, choose performers for televised NFL promotional spots during the season and will take a prominent role in the league’s “Inspire Change” program that was launched last year.

The deal does not include a provision for Jay-Z to perform at the Super Bowl although, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he hoped the rapper would perform sometime in the next few years.

“It very quickly went beyond the Super Bowl in our early conversations,” Goodell said. “We have an opportunity to make an impact well beyond just the Super Bowl. It could be every other event. It could be every week of our regular season. It could be in ‘Inspire Change’ and how we use platforms to drive positive change in our communities.”

Inspire Change was launched last fall in a partnership with the NFL Players Coalition — a group of players seeking to enact social reform — and has the stated goals of promoting education and economic advancement, improving police and community relations, as well as enacting criminal-justice reform.

Jay-Z, born Shawn Carter, said he had some misgivings about partnering with the NFL, but added avoiding business deals with entities he may disagree with politically would limit his own opportunities.

“I couldn’t have any TV shows. I couldn’t put my platform on TV because I’m sure someone who owns the broadcast network has supported someone who I don’t believe should be in office,” he said.

Jay-Z also said the partnership would include providing podcasts and other platforms for players to share their opinions, including former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick who has been out of the league since after the 2016 when he began kneeling during the national anthem to protest of racial inequality.

“We like to think that the way we build the Inspire Change platform, that if anything close to that would happen in the future, then Kaepernick would have a platform where he can express himself and maybe it doesn’t have to take place on the field,” he said.

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