An attorney representing former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sharply criticized Jay-Z on Tuesday over the rapper's deal with the NFL to team up on social justice issues while Kaepernick remains unemployed after his national anthem protests against police brutality and institutional racism.
Kaepernick, the first NFL player to kneel in protest during "The Star-Spangled Banner," says he's been blacklisted by NFL team owners, and earlier this year he signed a settlement with the league.
"This deal between Jay-Z and the NFL crosses the intellectual picket line," Mark Geragos, who is representing Kaepernick in his dealings with the NFL, told ABC News, describing the agreement as "cold-blooded."
"I can confirm to you that the deal was already done prior to any conversation that [Kaepernick] had with Jay-Z and he certainly didn’t have any conversations with the NFL," Geragos added.
Jay-Z was also the target of criticism from Kaepernick's former teammate and fellow activist Eric Reid, who accused the NFL of pretending to champion social issues while "blackballing" Kaepernick.
"We never advocated for Colin to lose his job while we fought against systemic oppression. That’s unjust, and where the NFL inserted itself into this. Now the NFL is 'championing' social justice to cover their own systemic oppression in blackballing Colin. So we will fight to get Colin’s job back as well," tweeted Reid, who now plays with the Carolina Panthers.
(2/2) to get Colin’s job back as well. Jay-Z knowingly made a money move with the very people who’ve committed an injustice against Colin and is using social justice to smooth it over with the black community.— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) August 15, 2019
Jay-Z, a criminal justice reform advocate, held a press conference last week with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on the new partnership to amplify social justice issues, and he was asked about working with the league while Kaepernick remains off the field.
"Let me bring attention to injustice. Everyone's saying, 'How are you going forward if Kaep doesn't have a job.' This wasn't about him having a job," Jay-Z said. "That became a part of the discussion. He was kneeling to bring attention to injustice. We know what it is. Now how do we address the injustice?"