Stars like the NBA’s Kevin Durant, WNBA’s Skylar Diggans, NFL’s Ndamukong Suh and MLB’s Robinson Cano and CC Sabathia have aligned with JayZ’s agency. They all share the same expectation of signing lucrative, long term contracts and extending personal brands through rich sponsorship deals.
Durant’s stratospheric $275M contract extension with Nike and Cano’s colossal $250M free agent signing with the Seattle Mariners are two examples of JayZ’s emerging clout as a high profile sports businessman.
However, has this hip hop artist been given a free pass in our nation’s sports culture?
Since his first album in 1996, Carter has flexed his recording muscle in ways now reflective of our culture. We as parents, teachers, managers, leaders and even respectable sports fans have quietly allowed JayZ to fill the psyche of our youth with dehumanizing lyrics strung behind catchy music. We’ve acquiesced as the hip hop artist has seeded the minds of young male adults with a warped, perverse attitude concerning women.
And now we’re painfully confronting its outcome.
As a society, we’ve given JayZ and other miscreant musical artists carte blanche to poison our minds and those of our growing sons.
We’ve blindly excused these entertainers, cowardly giving them unfettered access in our culture. Their reward has been whopping sales figures in the name of modern day artistry?
The NFL’s indefinite suspension of Baltimore Ravens’ RB Ray Rice and the NBA’s banishment of former Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling bring the social question to light. Now that professional sports leagues appear to be shouldering greater social responsibility, should the Roc Nation Sports CEO’s lyrics finally become more closely scrutinized?
Has anyone from the NFL, MLB or NBA offices ever delved into JayZ’s recording history to determine whether his catalog of songs best represent the spirit of their sports? More specifically, do JayZ’s musical messages extol women in a positive light or denigrate women to testosterone-infused men who think of them as meat for their sexual appetites or punching bags for their frustrations?
If pressed to investigate, league executives would likely discover that Carter and his wife Beyonce don’t lullaby their child Blue Ivy to bed each night to lyrics made famous by JayZ, Roc Nation Sports’ CEO.
Certainly, JayZ’s songs are protected by our nation’s constitutional free speech clause. But, given the physical and sexual abuse leveled by pro athletes against an increasing number of their wives and girlfriends, why hasn’t the NFL, MLB or NBA spoken up about the hip hop artist’s misogynistic lyrics?
JayZ may be one of the most successful and wealthiest music artists in the entertainment industry. But, now that he’s also negotiating some of the biggest pro athlete contracts, why aren’t the heads of pro sports leagues giving a questionable glance at JayZ?
If Roger Goodell is sanctioning the player who did the deed, what about glancing backward at the hip hop artist turned super agent whose pervasive rants have indirectly contributed to misbehavior toward women?
Further, JayZ’s Roc Nation enjoys a growing roster of talent. Should we assume then that Kevin Durant, CC Sabathia, Robinson Cano, Geno Smith and especially Skylar Diggans condone their agent’s lyrics? Or are they, too, remaining silent about the impossible-to-ignore messaging which devalues women and the bullying behavior of some of our nation’s most popular athletes? Are we celebrating the music and ignoring the consequences of its outworking?
Why haven’t more people acknowledged the downward, guttural pull of lyrics like those of JayZ’s that refer to women as “b#tches” and “h#es” that are referenced in far too many songs.
I’m curious to know. How many JayZ songs did Baltimore Ravens’ RB Ray Rice, Charlotte Panthers’ Greg Hardy and San Francisco 49ers’ Ray McDonald have on their playlists? Researching the matter might make for an interesting university sociology study.
Did these athletes choose from rhymes like “That’s My B#tch” from JayZ’s 2011 Watch the Throne album or “2 Many H#es” from his 2002 The Blueprint 2: The Gift and Curse? Or, did they perhaps refer to “Money Cash H#es” from JayZ’s 1998 Hard Knock Life album before lashing out at their wives and girlfriends?
Zero tolerance for domestic violence has rightfully become their collective rallying cry.
Likewise, zero tolerance should be equally applied toward musical artists like JayZ or others with ties to the NFL, MLB and NBA if their songs contain misogynistic lyrics or foster callous, dismissive portrayals of women.
Money, music and sports resonate loudly throughout all sectors of our society. That’s why the growing influence of Roc Nation Sports’ CEO so disturbs me and needs to be addressed.
And, the NFL, MLB and NBA should no longer give JayZ a free pass.