Eric Reid blasts NFL's 'Inspire Change' concert, says Jay-Z is league's 'token black guy'

The NFL and rap mogul Jay-z provided a first glimpse on how their controversial partnership might work on Friday, announcing a free “Inspire Change” concert to be performed before the league’s opening game on Thursday.

Performing at the concert will be Meek Mill, Meghan Trainor and Rapsody, all three of whom have also been named “Inspire Change” advocates.

In addition to the concert, the league and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation naturally revealed some revenue streams for its new social justice initiative. Artists of various genres will reportedly create new music for a Songs of the Season campaign that will debut during games and simultaneously hit streaming platforms. Because this is the NFL, an apparel line also reportedly in the works.

As you can imagine, one of the biggest critics of the league’s partnership wasn’t impressed.

Eric Reid: Not a big Jay-Z fan

Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid had some strong words for Jay-Z and the NFL when the partnership was initially reported. That trend continued Friday.

Reid has been one of the most visible allies of Colin Kaepernick, who has also taken shots at the partnership.

The players are only two of a number of figures who have questioned Jay-Z’s partnership with the NFL given his past support of Kaepernick. The rapper once reportedly made efforts to convince Travis Scott to drop out of the Super Bowl because of the stigma around the NFL from Kaepernick’s treatment. Now, he’s fully associating himself with the league as much as any major musician can.

Clearly, Reid is taking a cynical view toward the NFL.

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Eric Reid since joining the Carolina Panthers
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Eric Reid since joining the Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers' Eric Reid (25) kneels as Cam Newton (1) stands during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Jason E. Miczek)
Carolina Panthers strong safety Eric Reid, center, takes a knee during the playing of the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson (26) is stopped by Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid (25) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Baltimore Ravens' Chris Moore (10) runs after a catch ads Carolina Panthers' Eric Reid (25) defends in the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
Carolina Panthers' Eric Reid (25) reacts after making a stop during an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)
Carolina Panthers' Eric Reid (25) returns an interception against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Carolina Panthers' Eric Reid (25) kneels during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) is hit by Carolina Panthers strong safety Eric Reid (25) as he slides at the end of a run during the second half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. Reid was ejected. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Carolina Panthers strong safety Eric Reid heads to the locker room after being ejected following a hit on Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during the second half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Carolina Panthers' Eric Reid (25) kneels during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
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What is ‘Inspire Change’?

The NFL announced in January that it was launching “Inspire Change,” a product of its work with the Players Coalition that was meant to showcase “the collaborative efforts of players, owners and the league to create positive change in communities across the country.”

The league said it would use its programs to focus on three major areas: education and economic advancement, police and community relations and criminal justice reform.

The revenue from the league’s Songs of the Season and apparel line are earmarked to fund that initiative, which the league says has funded nearly $2 million in social justice grants toward organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and Operation HOPE.

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