Did Jay Z Play a Role in Colin Kaepernick’s NFL Workout?

After three years of being excommunicated from the National Football League for his public stance against police brutality, former star quarterback, Colin Kapernick, has finally been given a chance to play the sport he loves. It was announced several days ago that Kapernick would be given a chance to try out for several teams during a workout session this weekend. Fans were excited and wondered if rapper turned businessman, Jay Z, had anything to do with the league’s decision to give Kapernick another shot. Jay Z made headlines over the summer when he partnered with the NFL, despite his support of Kaepernick. The world waited to see if he’d lend Kapernick a helping hand. 

Jay Z
Jay Z 2018 | JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images

Colin Kaepernick gets NFL tryout after 3-year blockage

The former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers has not played football in nearly three years. His issues began after kneeling during the national anthem in the 2016 season as a symbol of solidarity against police brutality against African-Americans.

Colin Kaepernick
Eli Harold (58) and quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) take a knee during the national anthem 2016 | Al Diaz/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Kneeling shot Kapernick into the national stratosphere. He became a free agent in 2017 and was unable to find a new team. Kaepernick filed a grievance accusing the league’s 32 owners of conspiring to keep from playing because of his political views.

The league reached a multimillion-dollar settlement with Kaepernick in February. After the settlement, NFL teams were given the green light to give Kapernick a tryout. The tryout was scheduled for Saturday, November 16 at an Atlanta area high school. 

Jay Z played a part in getting Colin Kaepernick a tryout 

According to The New York Times, both the NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, and Jay-Z wanted Kaepernick to be given a chance to try out for a team. It’s been reported that neither Goodell or Jay Z had the power to give Kaepernick a job, but the idea of Kapernick being “blackballed” did not sit well with them. 

Goodell could not ignore the issues raised after the Kaepernick saga. Many NFL fans, specifically African-Americans, support Kaepernick’s stance and blame the league for Kapernick not being offered a contract with another team in the league. Critics and fans of the NFL believe a tryout would be the beginning of damage control on the league’s behalf. 

Jay Z
Jay-Z 2015 | Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage

Jay Z faced severe backlash after it was announced that his Roc Nation management company would be entering a multi-year deal with the NFL. According to The Bleacher Report, the partnership was designed to “enhance the NFL’s live game experiences and to amplify the league’s social justice efforts.”

Fans saw it as a slap in the face to black men, specifically Kapernick, and a cowardly move. Others felt it could bridge the gap between the sports corporation and African American players as a way for athletes to fight for better pay, benefits and a voice. 

Source: YouTube

Jay Z spoke in support of Kapernick but also questioned whether or not a football game was the time or place for his social-political views to be heard. 

“He absolutely brought this conversation alive,” Jay-Z told the Wall Street Journal. “We like to think that the way we build the [NFL’s social-awareness program] 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.”

How did Colin Kaepernick’s NFL tryout go?

Kapernick’s tryout was met with roadblocks from the beginning. After multiple reschedules and statements from his representatives and the NFL on Saturday, Kaepernick took the field at Charles Drew High School in Riverdale. The tryout was initially supposed to be private but quickly turned public and thousands of his fans showed up to cheer him on as he got his long-awaited shot to be signed to a new team. 

According to CBS Sports, the tryout lasted for 30 minutes. Seven NFL teams were present for the workout: the Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Redskins, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans, San Francisco 49ers (Kapernick’s former team) and Detroit Lions. 

Kaepernick was seen speaking with scouts from the Redskins, Jets, and Chiefs after the workout. he told them, “When you go back, tell your owners to stop being scared,” according to a source.

There was plenty of social media coverage of the workout. One posted Kapernick throwing the football during his tryout and wrote that it was his “best” throw of the night. 

Source: Twitter

At the time that this article was written, Kapernick has not yet been signed to a team but it’s clear the interest is there!