Panthers' Eric Reid sounds off on Jay-Z owning an NFL team: 'Despicable'

Matthew Stephens and Luke DeCock, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Football

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Panthers safety Eric Reid didn't go so far as to call Jay-Z a sellout, but he did consider the hip-hop mogul's foray into the NFL "despicable."

Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter's entertainment firm, Roc Nation, will now produce the NFL's Super Bowl halftime show, it was announced Wednesday, officially creating a partnership between Jay-Z and the NFL. In addition, TMZ Sports reported Friday that Jay-Z will become part owner of an NFL team soon. None of this sat well with Reid, who continues to kneel during the national anthem in protest of social injustice in the United States.

Reid, a friend and former teammate of Colin Kaepernick with the San Francisco 49ers, first voiced his displeasure about Jay-Z's decision on social media this week. Friday, he took his thoughts a step further with reporters in the locker room following Carolina's preseason loss to the Bills at Bank of America Stadium.

"Jay-Z claimed to be a supporter of Colin, wore his jersey, told people not to perform at the Super Bowl because of the treatment the NFL did to Colin. And now he's going to be a part owner ... It's kind of despicable.

"This isn't somebody who just came out of left field and tried to have a partnership in the NFL. This isn't somebody who Colin didn't have a relationship with. This is someone who has spoken on the phone with Colin, has met with Colin, has presented awards to Colin -- or, his wife has -- has been an outspoken supporter of Colin. ... He's trying to smooth it (his decision to become part of the NFL) over with the black community by wrapping it in social justice. It ain't cool."

Reid was asked if he thought Jay-Z's decision could be to help bring systemic oppression to the forefront by having a voice in the front office and, potentially, bring Kaepernick onto a team, as ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith suggested this week. Reid wasn't optimistic.

"If Jay-Z is going to become an owner, is Colin going to be signed the day he becomes an owner of a team?" Reid asked. "We'll see. I think he has a very small window with an ownership position to get Colin on whatever team he's on.

" ... We were professional athletes first. Then we started protesting systemic oppression, then Colin lost his job because protesting injustice. Us fighting to get Colin a job is returning to the status quo to make him an employee. We didn't advocate for him to lose his job along the way."

More from Reid on Jay-Z:

-- On Jay-Z saying it's time to move beyond kneeling ...

"When has Jay-Z ever taken a knee to tell us we're past kneeling? Yes, he's done a lot of great work, great social justice work. But for you to get paid to go into an NFL press conference and say you're past kneeling? It's asinine."

-- On how Reid's hashtag about neocolonialism relates to Jay-Z ...


"The NFL is hiding behind this black face, right? The injustice that's happened to Colin, they get to say, 'Look, we care about social justice. We care about the black community because we're with Jay-Z. Jay-Z is doing the work for them. We all know that it's unjust that Colin isn't in an NFL locker room, the way he lost his job, but they get to pretend they care about social justice. I haven't seen anything. I could be completely wrong. Since the $89 million with the players' coalition, what's come of that? We get to pretend that we care about social justice. We get to pretend that we care about the black community. We get to hide behind Malcolm Jenkins' face. We get to hide behind Jay-Z's face. And not do anything."

-- On if Kaepernick could play for the Panthers ...

"I've talked to (team owner David Tepper). It's the same thing that everybody says. We have a quarterback."

-- On financial motivation ...

"It does fit in with the pattern. Jay-Z knowingly made a money move. He's capitalized on the situation. Nobody to my knowledge, and you can correct me if I'm wrong, talked about social justice before Colin started protesting. That was not a topic of the NFL's off-the-field work. And for Jay-Z to come in and partner to address social justice, do it behind Colin's back, get paid to do it, and now he has a stake in an NFL team, is just, I don't have words."

-- On what Jay-Z owning a team would mean ...

"This is an interesting turn of events, to hear that Jay-Z is going to be part-owner of a team. I don't know how big of a stake that is, or how much pull he'll have as owner of a team, if he's less than 1% I guess that doesn't mean anything. But if he's part-owner, that means he'll have a say. We'll see if he uses that position to get Colin a job."

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