Recently we have been debating the issue of Jay-Z falling into bed with the NFL to partner with their social change initiative and the opportunity to own an NFL team. Everyone has focused on the protest that Colin Kaepernick started years ago by taking a knee to protest the social injustice in this country that people of color experience everyday from DWB (Driving While Black) to incarceration to economic injustice.
The question is; did Jay-Z sell out his people, because he bought in to the NFL?
Well if you know anything about the NFL you know that NFL has absolutely no black or Hispanic owners, what counts for minority owners is the Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, who is Pakistani American, and Kim Pegula, who is Asian American and co-owns the Buffalo Bills.
We’ve seen headlines that say Jay-Z vs Kaep, or Roger Goodell wins, or Jay-Z the ultimate capitalist. But let’s look beyond that for a moment.
What if Jay-Z were to become an owner of an NFL team . . . what would that truly mean?
What would it mean for the social justice conversation for the NFL?
What would it mean for the economic conversation for the city in which that team resides?
What would it mean for the income status for the people in the city and state of the location where that team resides?
What would it mean for the conversation for sports where blacks have always been the exploited, where the conversation went from you can’t be the quarterback to you can’t be the owner?
Perhaps our sight is just that limited by what the cornea can see. As the first real American born minority owner in the NFL his ownership would be monumental, and it would shift not only the conversation but the placement of power where we have been kneeling for it to be . . . in our hands.
It is not just enough to kneel, that was part of the problem with the civil rights movement no one planned for what happens when the marching is done. What is the kneeling supposed to accomplish? Are we to stay on our knees forever? Or is the knee supposed to provoke movement, dialogue, progress, change? The only way to change the machine sadly is to become the machine and change how it needs to operate. Dismantle what the machine needs to run, but in order to do that you may have to do a few things that may seem like you’re selling out, like buy an NFL team . . . but then you hire a black front office, and you treat them with dignity, you give free-thinking black men, and brown men power to voice their opinions and display their talents. You place your team in a state or city that has a residual effect on the economic vitality for every neighborhood there. And those opportunities revitalize the very neighborhoods, the other corporations, the government, and the NFL teams have left to fend for themselves. You spearhead social change that creates millionaires that don’t forget where it came from and they create investment groups and spearhead entrepreneurship academies for black and brown kids all over the United States, they create forums that teach them how to create economic wealth that makes it so that those same entities that bitched and moaned about your kneeling can’t ignore you because you are their constituency.
So no we don’t stop kneeling, but when it’s time to give our knees a rest until the next game we get up and walk to the front office and start working. There is no way to make real change in this world without coming to a table, doesn’t exist, and just because you’re willing to come to the table doesn’t mean you have to be a sellout, might mean you’re just one of the many warriors in the fight. We don’t have to choose sides. We need Kaep to keep us hungry, to keep us aware, to never let us forget, to represent the struggle and the voiceless, and we need Jay to make the ends in the corporate world so he moves us into our own office, so we don’t have to beg for opportunity because we own that bitch . . . No army survives without a strategist and a warrior.