×

Jay-Z to Acquire Ownership Stake in NFL Team (Report)

Jay-Z will soon acquire a “significant ownership interest” in an NFL team, TMZ reported on Friday. The team was not disclosed, but a source told the site the deal will happen in the “near future,” adding that the billionaire rapper “wants to continue to be a change agent for the NFL.” Jay-Z’s company, Roc Nation, recently struck a deal with the NFL encompassing entertainment and social justice.

Contacted by Variety, a rep for the rapper had no comment.

Jay and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell held a press conference announcing the deal on Wednesday, where they were peppered with questions from reporters regarding Jay’s previous criticism of the league and his stance on former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose controversial symbolic kneeling during the National Anthem to protest racial inequality in the U.S. has essentially seen him drummed out of the league. Jay largely deflected the questions with statements such as, “I think we’re past kneeling, I think it’s time for action” and by extolling the benefits of “a vehicle that can inspire change and speak to the masses at the same time.”

Such a deal would make Jay-Z the first black team owner in league history, Bleacher Report notes, adding that many insiders say he has long wanted to own an NFL franchise. “The deal with the NFL nudges Jay-Z far closer to that goal, if that indeed is the objective,” said Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk. “He now has a formal relationship with the league, giving other owners a chance to get to know him well, naturally allowing the development of a familiarity that most potential owners never have when they show up and try to buy a team.”

Jay previously owned a share of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, in which he purchased a $1 million stake in 2004. He sold his share nine years later for $2.35 million because it conflicted with his Roc Nation Sports management division. Asked about such a conflict with the NFL, sources told TMZ, “Jay is not an NFL agent and does not take part in the operations of the NFL players in Roc Nation.”

Jay has encountered a wave of criticism over the deal, the likes of which he has not often seen in his career. Multiple critical editorials followed in the days after news of the deal broke, with The Atlantic’s Jemele Hill writing a long article titled “Jay-Z Helped the NFL Banish Colin Kaepernick.

While quarterback himself did not comment directly on the deal, he tweeted a couple of hours after Wednesday’s press conference: “Today marks the three year anniversary of the first time I protested systemic oppression. I continue to work and stand with the people in our fight for liberation, despite those who are trying to erase the movement! The movement has always lived with the people!” He also retweeted statements of support from filmmaker Ava DuVernay, rapper J. Cole and former teammate Eric Reid.

Popular on Variety

More Music

  • Born to Be Live: 'Easy Rider'

    Born to Be Live: 'Easy Rider' Gets a Concert/Screening Premiere at Radio City

    In a year full of major 50th anniversary commemorations — from Woodstock to the moon landing — why not one for “Easy Rider,” Dennis Hopper’s hippie-biker flick that was released on July 14, 1969? That was the idea when a rep for Peter Fonda, who starred in the film as the laid-back Captain America, reached out [...]

  • Rob Thomas Sammy Hagar

    Sammy Hagar Joins Rob Thomas for 'Smooth' Performance (Watch)

    Who do you call when your pal Carlos Santana has plans on a Friday night? If you’re Rob Thomas, you recruit another famous friend, rocker Sammy Hagar, who turned up to help the singer close out the latest show of his Chip Tooth Smile tour with a performance of “Smooth” at the Fox Performing Arts [...]

  • US record producer The-Dream arrives for

    Top Music Publishers Come Together for Songs of Hope Honors

    The 15th annual Songs of Hope honors united songwriters, music industry insiders and more than a few preeminent doctors at producer Alex Da Kid’s Sherman Oaks compound on Thursday night. Jimmy Jam returned to host the event, which served as a fundraiser for the ever-vital City of Hope medical treatment center as well as a [...]

  • Monkees/Badfinger/Nazz Supergroup Takes Beatles' 'White Album'

    Monkees/Badfinger/Nazz Supergroup Gets Back to '68 by Touring Beatles' 'White Album'

    The 50th anniversary re-release of 1969’s “Abbey Road” may be just days away, but that doesn’t mean Beatles fans have been there and done that when it comes to celebrating ’68. Todd Rundgren, the Monkees’ Mickey Dolenz, Badfinger’s Joey Molland and several other name musicians of a certain vintage are teaming up to go out [...]

  • Rob Cowan, Greg Silverman'The Conjuring 2'

    Greg Silverman’s Stampede, School of Rock Team for Unscripted Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Former president of Warner Bros. Pictures Greg Silverman is partnering with School of Rock through his content creation company Stampede. The collaboration with the music school will create exclusive content, starting with the development of an unscripted series.  School of Rock operates a network of performance-based education franchises that offer students of all ages guidance [...]

  • 'Downton Abbey' Music Gets 'Bigger, Better,

    As 'Downton Abbey' Hits the Silver Screen, the Music, Too, Gets 'Bigger, Better, Grander'

    When “Downton Abbey” fans hear that familiar strings-and-piano theme, a Pavlovian response ensues: Get to the television immediately, because you don’t want to miss a minute of the addictive Crawley family melodrama to follow. This week, with the “Downton Abbey” movie reaching theaters on Friday, fans can’t wait for their fix of Lady Mary and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content