Colin Kaepernick, the social justice warrior most believe has been blackballed from the NFL, is getting his chance to prove he belongs in the league, but not on his terms.
More details of Saturday’s NFL-organized workout for Kaepernick have emerged, with ESPN reporting that the former 49ers quarterback preferred his workout to be on a Tuesday, when most free-agent workouts take place, but the NFL said it had to be this Saturday. Most head coaches won’t attend, since they will be preparing for a game. He asked for a later Saturday and was denied. His reps also weren’t informed of the workout until Tuesday.
The workout will be at the Falcons’ practice facility in Flowery Branch, Ga. and is being set up by NFL scouting president Jeff Foster, per ESPN. Former NFL coaches will run the workout. No media will be allowed at the workout, though there will be a video interview with Kaepernick made available to teams. ESPN reported that teams have been asking the league about Kaepernick, but have been unwilling to bring him in for a workout on their own.
NFL agent Blake Baratz suggested on Twitter that by organizing this workout, the NFL is basically admitting it colluded to keep him out of the league. Otherwise, why would such a workout be needed?
“I also have players that haven’t been able to get a workout,” Baratz wrote. “Would you mind setting up [theirs] too? The mere fact you are going out of your way to ensure this happens is admitting you colluded to keep him out. This is a charade to save face and pretty embarrassing.”
There have been plenty of theories as to why the NFL is doing this now.
Dan Patrick, according to Pro Football Talk, said on his show Wednesday that a source told him that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell felt pressured into doing this, though failed to elaborate on why. ESPN’s Adam Schefter, though, said he believes there is a different motivation for Goodell.
“I think Roger Goodell, there’s a part of him, the Commissioner, that feels bad about the way that this has unfolded,” Schefter said on ESPN. “And I think that he believes that he must do his part to try to get a workout for Colin Kaepernick, to try to get interviews with Colin Kaepernick, to try to do his part to get Colin Kaepernick in front of teams… He essentially has been persona non grata with the NFL.
“This is a reversal of that with the league office. This is the league office stepping in to try to make sure that Colin Kaepernick, who turned 32 last week, has a chance to show to teams what he can’t do, what he can do, what his level of interest is in returning, how much he’d like to be back in football. And, again, the NFL can’t make a team sign him I don’t think, but it can arrange something like this that really turns into Colin Kaepernick’s Pro Day.”
As long as they are setting the rules, though. According to NFL Network, the workout will commence at 3 p.m.