On its face value, the NFL’s unique decision to give shunned former Super Bowl quarterback Colin Kaepernick a chance back into the league after almost three years is worth applauding.
But here’s the question that hovers over this development: Why didn’t this happen in May instead of on a Saturday during the season?
Yes, the logistics of the sudden workout raises questions and makes one wonder the sincerity of the league’s opportunity given to Kaepernick.
Honestly, this all smells of being a disingenuous gesture. It’s as if the NFL came out of nowhere with Kaepernick’s situation dormant and has surprised him with a take-it-or-leave it proposal. Basically, this is setting up for the NFL to look back at the Kaepernick saga, however it ends, and point to this workout and saying that it tried to help get him back into the league.
But there are enough questionable aspects of this workout that makes one wonder if it is truly being set up with Kaepernick signing with a team as the likely conclusion.
On one hand, it is respectable of the NFL to arrange this workout after teams in the league have clearly ignored Kaepernick for almost three years as a result of him being the leader of the player movement of taking a knee during the National Anthem as a protest to civil issues. Kaepernick started a major firestorm for the league three years ago as the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, who he once led to the Super Bowl. In the two-plus seasons since, Kaepernick has not been given an opportunity to play.
This workout seemingly opens the door for Kaepernick’s return to the league and that’s commendable. But the reality of the workout is odd.
If the league is going to give Kaepernick a chance to return, it should be a fair one.
However, the facts don’t exactly point to it being ideal.
First, the NFL didn’t tell Kaepernick or teams about the workout until Tuesday. He reportedly had two hours to agree to it. Also, it is being held this Saturday in Atlanta. There reportedly was no wiggle room. It was Saturday or never.
Obviously, teams are busy on weekends. Coaches are either traveling or making final preparations for games. General managers and high-level scouts are on the college grind.
Tuesdays are normally the workout day in the NFL. But this come-one-come-all workout is Saturday. Seriously, this Kaepernick combine would be really cool if it was held last spring or even next spring. Teams would have time to put their full energy into it.
That won’t happen Saturday. Surely, there will be teams represented at the workout. The NFL Network reported that teams have asked the league about potential Kaepernick workouts and the league decided to do this all-inclusive workout to help everyone.
Sure, that’s plausible. It gives teams a chance not to be on an island in its interest in Kaepernick.
But why now? There certainly hasn’t been a lot of public interest in Kaepernick.
It just doesn’t make sense.
One can surmise that beggars can’t be choosers and that is where Kaepernick is. There is no way he could have turned down this opportunity – even under the odd circumstances.
This is a chance, whether it’s fair or not. Yet the league is showing it still holds all the cards in the Kaepernick saga.