Jay-Z is taking heat for his controversial new partnership with the NFL to spearhead social justice initiatives, with critics pointing out that team owners blacklisted former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for kneeling in protest during the national anthem.
Kaepernick’s high-powered lawyer, Mark Geragos, on Monday joined those slamming Jay-Z’s arrangement with the league, calling it “cold-blooded.”
“This deal between Jay-Z and the NFL crosses the intellectual picket line,” Geragos said on ABC News, noting that neither Jay-Z nor the NFL contacted Kaepernick while the details were being ironed out.
Roc Nation, Jay-Z’s record label, announced last week that it would team up with the NFL’s Inspire Change project, which supports programs to address education, economic advancement, criminal justice reform, and police and community relations. Jay-Z, in a press release, cited the league’s global reach as a means to “inspire change across the country.”
“Roc Nation has shown that entertainment and enacting change are not mutually exclusive ideas ― instead, we unify them,” he said. “This partnership is an opportunity to strengthen the fabric of communities across America.”
However, critics see the deal as the NFL’s half-hearted attempt to appease those outraged by treatment of Kaepernick, who remains unemployed after famously taking a knee to silently condemn racism and police brutality.
Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid, for example, called out Jay-Z on Twitter, accusing him of having “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.”
“You never turned your back on me or the people, even when the nfl tried to silence your voice & the movement,” he wrote. “You’ve never flinched or wavered. I love you Brother! Let’s get it!”
Representatives from neither the NFL nor Roc Nation responded to HuffPost’s requests for comment.