The same day he drew the Twitter ire of President Donald Trump, 21-time Grammy winner Jay-Z threw "100 percent" support behind former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, saying the infamous social activist was right to sacrifice his football career by protesting social injustice.
Appearing on Van Jones' new CNN show, Jay-Z was asked Saturday whether he would encourage Kaepernick to kneel during pregame national anthems in protest of racial inequality and police brutality if his Roc Nation Sports agency represented the ex-Niners starter. And the longtime hip-hop artist had no qualms about prioritizing Kaep's social work, which included multi-million-dollar donations to oppressed communities alongside peaceful protests during anthems, over the former quarterback's job security in the NFL.
"Look how many people play football," Jay-Z said on the show. "They're not all going to be him. Like, he just put his name next to Muhammad Ali. Would you rather be playing football getting your head dinged in, or would you rather be an iconic figure for the rest of your life? We confuse the idea of having a job with fulfilling your purpose."
Jay-Z on Colin Kaepernick: "Would you rather be playing football getting your head dinged in or would you rather be an iconic figure for the rest of your life?" #VanJonesShow https://t.co/QBtOcXas1J https://t.co/6assfRY0Uw— CNN (@CNN) January 28, 2018
Kaepernick, for what it's worth, once said he would not have knelt during anthems if he would have returned to the NFL in 2017. But his peaceful protests, which began in 2016, sparked involvement from hundreds of other players, some of whom either raised a fist or completely stayed off the field during anthems this season -- and others who accompanied demonstrations with community work that led to $89 million in charity donations from the NFL.
Amid groups of players partnering with the NFL regarding social activism, Trump made headlines for suggesting that team owners should "fire" anyone who kneels during pregame anthems like Kaepernick or other "son of a (explicit)" players.