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Robert Kraft played key role in NFL, Jay-Z deal

The NFL has entered into a unique, surprising, and wide-ranging deal with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation for, among other things, an overhaul of the Super Bowl halftime show and to support the league’s social-justice initiatives. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Patriots owner Robert Kraft played a key role in the sparking the arrangement.

Kraft, who developed a friendship with Jay-Z through their mutual efforts to secure the release from prison of Meek Mill and to launch earlier this year the Criminal Justice Reform Organization, spearheaded the effort by connecting Jay-Z to Commissioner Roger Goodell. Conversations began last year. In early January, Kraft and Goodell traveled to Los Angeles to meet with Jay-Z. After up to five more meetings and other communications, the partnership was finalized.

The NFL’s broader goal is to use music, and specifically the halftime show, as a way to expand the NFL’s appeal and to break down barriers in communication about people from diverse situations and backgrounds.

It’s an admirable goal. In our current national climate, it could be unattainable. Or maybe improved communication could spread beyond football. If there’s even a slim chance of that happening, it’s worth the effort.