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Jay-Z on NFL Anthem Protests: ‘It’s Not About the Flag, It’s About Justice’

“When people are kneeling and putting their fists up in the air … That’s not a black or white thing, it’s a human issue,” rapper says at Miami show

Jay-Z on NFL Protests

Jay-Z continued to use his tour as a springboard to discuss injustices, with the rapper taking aim at those criticizing NFL players' anthem protests.

Gustavo Caballero/Getty

Jay-Z continued to use his 4:44 Tour as a springboard to discuss injustices in America, taking aim at those who criticize NFL players’ National Anthem protests.

“I want y’all to understand, when people are kneeling and putting their fists up in the air and doing what they’re doing, it’s not about the flag, it’s about justice,” the rapper said at his Miami gig Sunday (via TMZ). “It’s about injustice. And that’s not a black or white thing, it’s a human issue.”

Jay-Z previously honored Colin Kaepernick, the player considered the catalyst of the anthem protests, by dedicating a song to him at the Meadows Festival and wearing the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback’s jersey during the rapper’s Saturday Night Live musical guest appearance. 

Jay-Z, who also condemned a judge’s decision to send Meek Mill back to prison for crimes he committed as a teenager, has worn a custom Kaepernick jersey throughout his tour.

On Sunday, after Kaepernick was named GQ‘s Citizen of the Year, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation signee J. Cole similarly praised the athlete to GQ. “Colin and I met years ago … I actually went to the first game he really played in, against the Jets. I just happened to be at that game. It hit another level for me the second I learned he was taking a knee,” Cole said.

“Suddenly something that he’s been doing blindly for his whole life — standing for the national anthem — now feels uncomfortable. Why? Because now it feels phony! It feels like, Man, how can I stand for this thing when this country is not holding itself true to the principles it says it stands for.”

Cole previously called on his fans to boycott the NFL over the league’s alleged blacklisting of Kaepernick.


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