This weekend’s last minute NFL invitation to Colin Kaepernick for a pop up workout ended in an upset victory for the blacklisted player. Yet and still, the win might be a pyrrhic victory.
In what has been described as a bizarre move by NFL franchise owners, last week they gave Kaepernick two hours to decide if he wanted to participate in a workout practice. The session was to consider him to play after three years of being shut out due to his display of political beliefs. Kaepernick’s response was, bring that shit, homie.
Kaepernick tweeted:“I’m just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday. I’ve been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can’t wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday.
However, the invitation was far from “inviting.” Presented with a number of conditions, reports say that stipulations required the workout to be private, along with a complete media blackout, including his team not being able to film. To make the unnecessary more complicated, NFL coordinators did not reveal who Kaepernick’s practice receivers would be, so he decided to fly out several of his own. Added, the workout would occur at a facility of the NFL’s choice.
Kaepernick learned the workout would be held at the Atlanta Falcons training facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia, just 40 miles southwest of Atlanta. More over, before the practice, NFL representatives requested that Kaepernick sign a waiver, of which he refused. Howard Bryant, a senior writer for ESPN posted via Twitter that “The NFL asked Kaepernick to sign a waiver that he would not sue the NFL in the event no team signed him from the workouts.”
In response, Kaepernick relocated the session to his preference—Charles R. Drew High School. Included, he opened it to the public. According to Bryant, who gave regular social media updates of the day, the relocation and public policy was due to Kaepernick’s feeling that there’s a “lack of transparency,” on behalf of the NFL.
Originally, 25 NFL team representatives planned their attendance. After the venue change, which is an hour away from the first coordinated site, only eight showed up to the new location. Appropriately wearing a shirt with the name, Kunta Kinte, on it, Kaepernick ran a series of throws and plays to five NFL players (Bruce Ellington, Eric Reid, Bryce Butler, Jordan Veasy, Ari Wentz) for 40 minutes.
“The goal of this workout was to show the teams that he could play, that he could throw the ball,” explained Reid in the Carolina Panthers locker room after their game against the Falcons. “He did that . . . all 32 teams could benefit from having a quarterback like Colin on their team.”
After the session, Kaepernick greeted about 200 fans who shadowed him. During his impromptu meet-and-greet, he made a brief statement:
“Stop running from the truth. Stop running from the people. We’re out here. We’re ready to play. We’re ready to go anywhere. My agent, Jeff Nalley is ready to talk to any team at any time. I been ready. I stay ready. I continue to be ready.”
Later that day, the NFL sent out an official statement contrasting other reports:
We are disappointed that Colin did not appear for his workout. He informed us of that decision at 2:30 p.m. today along with the public.
Today’s session was designed to give Colin what he has consistently said he wants — an opportunity to show his football readiness and desire to return to the NFL. Twenty-five (25) clubs were present for the workout, and all 32 clubs, their head coaches, general managers, and other personnel executives would have received video footage of the interview and workout, shot by the Atlanta Falcons video crew.
Reports surfaced that Kaepernick’s agent sent a video of his workout to all teams. As of press time, no reports of an NFL team approaching Kaepernick have surfaced.
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