What was the point of that almost workout? To appease Colin Kaepernick supporters? Did anyone believe that this Saturday workout would kill the noise? That Colin would get signed and be in uniform at some point this season? Or that he’d perform horribly and prove teams correct for not signing him? With the dissolution of the formal NFL sanctioned workout, we’re still expected to wait and see what’s next for this part of Kaepernick’s NFL career.
By this point, we have what we’ve been told: the NFL, not a team, put together a showcase for Kaepernick and gave him two hours to respond after telling him. 25 teams were expected to show up. It was going to be conducted by former Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson, on a Saturday, at the Atlanta Falcons’ facility. Then, it didn’t happen, because both camps couldn’t come together. There were questions about a waiver, independent cameras, and the location.
In the end, the NFL issued a 500+ word press release and Kaepernick worked out for about eight teams willing to drive an hour away to watch him throw at a suburban high school field. The throws weren’t amazing, but they did prove that the University of Nevada alumnus’ arm was healthy, he still has the long ball, and a team could use him. To note: we are on day 1000 of Colin Kaepernick as a free agent.
This is all inherently weird. The NFL put together a showcase for Kaepernick, which makes some sense because of the collusion case being a major turning point in their relationship. This is the NFL taking the reins on the situation. Nonetheless, why didn’t this happen earlier? It was the Saturday on week 11 of the season; teams are in the playoff hunt, prepping for games the next day. Teams consistently evaluate free agents on Tuesdays, give them a work out and sign them, or provide feedback and cut them loose to look for work elsewhere. Even if it was arranged that he would be signed for next season, why not do it in the offseason? Call Kaepernick’s agent and set a time in February before the draft combine. Hastily putting this together just looks poorly thought out.
Yet, we have the NFL and some media members throwing a lot of blame at Colin Kaepernick’s feet. The league offered him a chance — to prove he could play by their rules. The premise going around from CBS’ James Brown to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith is basically, “You want to be in the NFL? Well, you have to play by their rules.” Maybe Kaepernick got scared. By not showing up, he ducked in a game of chicken with the NFL. All he needed to do is trust the NFL, for one day. It also doesn’t help his case that he didn’t look like the second coming of Tom Brady, or even himself from 2012.
However, we know what Kaepernick wanted in this situation: Transparency. To hold everyone accountable, so no one can make conjectures based on one narrative and little proof. If there is footage, media members (and fans) present, no one can say he didn’t do enough. No one can say he’s the one causing the issues, because he isn’t hiding anything.
In accord, the NFL put this together in an unsystematic fashion. It was weird from the start, and if you aren’t comfortable with a situation, you leave. If there is anything to learn from all the coverage surrounding Kaepernick these past couple of years, it’s to not subject yourself to someone else’s narrative, just write your own. Opinions are like assholes: hopefully we all have them and truthfully, some are just full of shit.
Nonetheless, Colin Kaepernick is still unsigned, and NFL teams are still moving forward to week 13. The Detroit Lions tried to bring in a QB who is attached to the XFL for 2020, just to get shut down. If only there was an unsigned QB, who had around 75 games of experience, including playoffs, and is healthy. I can’t think of a name, but it’ll come to me.
This isn’t a matter of him having failed as a player so drastically at his position or serving a suspension for criminal charges. Kaepernick protested because he disagrees with the treatment of African Americans in this country, and people got upset. They twisted his symbolism into a message it clearly wasn’t, to fit their own narratives, with our President chief amongst them. And yet, he still works to make it back.
So now, I have to ask a question: When does Kaepernick stop? He’s 32, hasn’t played in the league for about three seasons, and it doesn’t look like teams are going to take down the wall anytime soon. He’s a smart, driven man that any NFL team would be lucky to have as a back-up at minimum. Kaepernick has spoken in the past of going to graduate school, which could help him on his path as an activist. He has an excellent mentor in Harry Edwards. His Know Your Rights camps are a great program for minority youth. He has a Nike deal focused around him as a public persona, meaning Kaepernick doesn’t need to play to make endorsement money like Derrick Rose.
And yet, here we are. I’m not going to compare Colin Kaepernick with other NFL players who still have careers after doing horrific things, because I’m not into comparing apples to oranges just because they’re both fruit. I will say this: You tell people the truth, they get scared. You challenge people in power, they threaten your livelihood.
The inability for Kaepernick to be on an NFL roster is a sad reality for a man who strives to use his public platform to help others, while still pursuing his own dreams. If you are upset with Kaepernick for peacefully protesting the treatment of Black people, then work to change that so it is no longer a fact but a footnote in history. Or just imagine he’s Tebowing. No one ever has a problem with anything Timmy Touchdown does.