One of the stranger media stories in a while came from reports about whether or not Colin Kaepernick invested in the BIG3 three-on-three basketball league. On Wednesday night, The Athletic and Stadium’s Shams Charania reported that Kaepernick (seen above left) and his investment could help the league (co-founded by Ice Cube, seen above right) during their 2018 draft. ) to prevent potential shut down. Charania has since deleted that tweet, but here’s a screenshot of it.
The main Athletic account also tweeted this. This tweet is still active:
Colin Kaepernick invests in Ice Cube’s BIG3 league, which was on the brink of potential closure, sources say @ShamsCharania.
Kaepernick’s new deal will help the 3-on-3 contest continue to operate and grow. pic.twitter.com/0I8kuV5GSn
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) July 7, 2022
On Thursday morning, The Athletic reported that a representative for Kaepernick denied the story. Their tweet credited Charania, but the story was only labeled “Athletic Staff” (typical practice for them with news in other sports, but many of Charania’s transaction reports are on their site as “Shams Charania and Athletic Staff.”) . Here’s that tweet:
A representative for Colin Kaepernick tells The Athletic that the former NFL QB is not investing in Ice Cube’s BIG3, despite sources close to the league saying otherwise.@ShamsCharania with the latest on the uncertainty surrounding the BIG3: https://t.co/Qwn3J9TWSf https://t.co/fhSzpQuTBL
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) July 7, 2022
Here is the key part of this story:
Although sources close to hip-hop artist Ice Cube’s BIG3 league say Colin Kaepernick is joining as a new investor, a representative for Kaepernick denied the former NFL quarterback’s involvement and said he is not investing.
“It’s just not true,” a representative for Kaepernick said early Thursday.
Sources close to the league say Kaepernick’s investment will allow the league to continue operating. Multiple BIG3 league players were preparing for a potential shutdown, sources told The Athletic.
It’s definitely unusual to see the same media reporting things that are controversial in a short period of time. But identifying the first report as “sources close to the league” in Thursday’s piece (when it was previously just “sources”) perhaps illustrates what happened here. Still, there should probably be some skepticism and further scrutiny of anything sources close to the league say are “on the brink of a potential shutdown.”
Of course, it’s also worth bearing in mind that many publicly denied talks in the past actually happened and sometimes even turned into deals despite the denial. And “It’s just not true” isn’t even necessarily a denial that there were discussions; it’s Kaepernick refusing to make an investment. But the bluntness of the denial from Kaepernick’s rep certainly raises some questions about the validity of the initial claim from “sources close to the league.”
As Mike Florio notes at Pro Football Talk , it’s also interesting considering how the NFL announced a partnership with Ice Cube just a week ago. Here’s more from the NFL release about it:
The National Football League today announced its partnership with the Contract with Black America Institute, an initiative focused on economic inclusion led by artist and entrepreneur O’Shay Jackson, also known as Ice Cube. The partnership between the CWBA and the NFL reinforces the NFL’s commitment to increasing economic capital and partnerships with black-owned businesses.
The collaboration focuses on identifying League-wide opportunities in the financial, technology and manufacturing sectors, with a concentration on increasing direct and indirect spending on national black-owned businesses to help close America’s racial and economic wealth gap.
“For more than a year, the CWBA Institute has worked closely with the NFL to identify resources to build stronger, more meaningful economic partnerships with the black community,” Ice Cube said. “Our team at CWBA, including my longtime business partner and entertainment attorney Jeff Kwatinz, and advisors Ja’Ron Smith and Chris Pilkerton, are focused on building corporate partnerships with measurable results for economic growth for black communities across the country.” We believe this is a huge step in the right direction.”
As for BIG3 itself, it was founded in 2017 by Ice Cube and Kwatinetz. It originally aired on Fox and FS1 on a one-day delay, then switched to live broadcasts in 2018 and then added Facebook broadcasts before agreeing to an exclusive deal with CBS and CBSSN in 2019. Its 2020 season. was canceled due to COVID-19 (there was talk of a quarantine reality show/tournament, but that never materialized), but returned in 2021 with games on CBS. The league also made a lot of headlines off the field, from bidding for Fox’s former regional sports networks “for the culture” and complaining to the FCC that providers had already decided not to carry those RSNs that hadn’t even won yet (and wouldn’t win) to take out ads asking President Trump to side with them in a dispute with the emir of Qatar to lawsuits and strange exits.
This year’s BIG3 season kicked off in June with two weekends of games in Chicago. It is scheduled to continue with games in Dallas every weekend until August 7th, then playoffs in Tampa on August 14th. There are three games scheduled this week, Saturday and Sunday, with broadcasts on DAZN, VYRE and YouTube. We’ll see if more comes out about the league being “on the brink of a potential shutdown” and what that means for scheduled games.
[The Athletic; top left photo from Kirthmon F. Dozier/The Detroit Free Press via USA Today Sports, top right photo from Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports]