What’s better than one billionaire, partnering up with a wealthier one?
The Washington Commanders are up for sale, apparently, and there are several suitors, one being the man who joined forces with the NFL to both “Inspire Change,” and significantly improve the Super Bowl halftime show. TMZ is reporting that Jay-Z wants to put in a bid. However, with a net worth of slightly more than $1 billion, per Forbes, he is looking for a “strategic business partner.”
Enter the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. TMZ is also reporting that the Walmart of the world wide web’s former CEO and current largest shareholder, is also interested in purchasing the Commanders, and a partnership with H.O.V. is “on the table.” Bezos has been rumored to want to be an NFL owner for a while, and that the Commanders were his target.
Jay-Z and company convinced Rihanna to perform at the upcoming Super Bowl halftime show, as opposed to when she turned down the offer the year before. He was also brought in to work with the league’s “Inspire Change” initiative that it put together following the Colin Kaepernick protests of 2016. TMZ reported in 2019 that Jay-Z would “soon” acquire a substantial ownership interest.
And here is where Jay-Z received some deserved criticism. He announced publicly that he was firmly in Colin Kaepernick’s corner during his 2016 protests against police brutality. But then this partnership formed three years after Kaepernick last played in the league, and Jay-Z’s comments shortly after it was announced, told a different story.
“For me it’s like action, [an] actionable item, what are we gonna do with it?” Jay-Z said to the media.” “Everyone heard, we hear what you’re saying, and everybody knows I agree with what you’re saying [in Kaepernick’s underlying message]. So what are we gonna do? You know what I’m saying? [Help] millions and millions of people, or we get stuck on Colin not having a job.”
Stuck, huh? A good starting NFL quarterback who put together a respectable statistical season with a group of well-below-average NFL players and a dysfunctional front office, gets dismissed by the league in a cowardly way. It happened because he took a stance against injustice by refusing to rise to his feet during the National Anthem. Stuck is not the way to describe that situation. Upset, or perhaps unsatisfied, and certainly those who are still focused on Kapernick being absent from all NFL rosters had, and still have, the right to feel he was treated unfairly.
And while having a laugh with commissioner Roger Goodell one afternoon, Jay-Z said this, “I think we have moved past kneeling.” S0, if you think Jay-Z was brought in to carry some water for the NFL, by delivering a message to players to stop kneeling, actions that upset many of its white fans, you just might be right.
Also, whatever action that Jay-Z has taken since joining forces with the shield certainly has not helped curb the police brutality that Kaepernick was attempting to highlight. In 2021, an American record was set for the most fatal police shootings in a single year, 1,055, since The Washington Post began keeping track in 2015, and of course, Black peoples’ lives were taken at the highest rate. As of Nov. 3, police have shot and killed 1,030 people in 2022, so it’s safe to assume that a new high mark will be reached before the end of the year. Remember Jayland Walker from LeBron James’ hometown? The officers whose pursuit ended with Walker being shot 46 times and killed in July, have been back at work in an administrative capacity since mid-October. The shooting is still under investigation.
If Jay-Z does partner up with Bezos, he will be going into business with one of the most successful exploiters of the American worker. People who work in Amazon warehouses are twice as likely to get hurt as other warehouse workers, and four times as likely to suffer a musculoskeletal injury, per Business Insider. Those warehouses, and Amazon Web Services, are mostly what have driven Bezos’s net worth to over $100 billion.
It’s great that Jay-Z is a part of the Super Bowl halftime show. He got Rihanna to take her jersey down from the rafters and perform, and she needs to perform even less than he does these days. She’s a billionaire and didn’t have to combine fortunes with a megastar spouse to reach that status. Jay-Z also got another billionaire, Dr. Dre, to perform at last year’s West Coast blowout show at the Super Bowl in Los Angeles.
Music always has, and always will be, the best that people get from Jay-Z. His actions and words have shown that his eyes are far more fixed on the people in the owner’s box than those in the Marcy apartment building where he grew up in Brooklyn.
If he gets a significant stake in the Commanders alongside Bezos or anyone else, it’s further proof that his goal in aligning with the NFL was to benefit himself. And that his efforts to get players to stop kneeling did have a finish line, and being awarded a team is it. The rest of us just need to get unstuck, and find an actionable item instead of expressing our discontent at injustice.