RIVERDALE, Ga. — Nothing about the best way Saturday unfolded ought to make you consider Colin Kaepernick will play within the NFL once more. Not the best way his alternative to work out for NFL groups appeared out of skinny air earlier this week, nor the best way it fell aside Saturday afternoon amid dueling accusations and simmering acrimony.
As rapidly and inexplicably because it was organized, it might have been an opportunity for 20-plus NFL scouts to see Kaepernick throw — even when that’s all it was. As a substitute, it grew to become one other Nike business, one other day for Kaepernick to bolster his credentials as a cultural icon, one other day for him to embarrass NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
At a highschool simply south of Atlanta’s airport — and about 60 miles from the place his authentic exercise on the Atlanta Falcons’ facility was scheduled to happen — Kaepernick as a substitute threw some footballs in entrance of simply eight NFL scouts, a number of dozen media members and about 200 followers lining the fence in what appeared like extra of a spectacle than an actual exercise.
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And when it was over, after spending almost half an hour signing autographs and thanking his supporters, Kaepernick delivered a searing indictment of the NFL, which has needed no a part of him since he first kneeled for the nationwide anthem in protest of police brutality.
“I’ve been ready for three years, I’ve been denied for three years,” he stated. “We all know why I came out here and showed it today in front of everybody. We have nothing to hide. So we’re waiting for the 32 owners, the 32 teams, Roger Goodell, all of them to stop running. Stop running from the truth, stop running from the people.”
However as passionately and eloquently as that message was delivered, it’s onerous to see Saturday as something however a setback if the objective was to truly play within the NFL once more.
“There was an ulterior motive behind it and I think we’re all seeing that right now,” stated Kaepernick’s agent, Jeff Nalley.
From Kaepernick’s aspect, there have been suspicions from the beginning.
Why did the NFL rapidly prepare this exercise on a Saturday when league personnel are typically out scouting school video games? Why had the league tipped off some reporters that this was taking place, as Nalley alleged, a number of days earlier than the NFL truly reached out to Kaepernick?
Furthermore, why did the league insist that the exercise can be closed to the media and that Kaepernick wouldn’t be capable of movie it himself to verify the footage that acquired disseminated to groups wasn’t edited? And why did the league need him to signal a six-page waiver that included, amongst different issues, a clause clearing the NFL of potential litigation if no group signed him after this exercise?
“This was about something other than a workout,” Nalley stated. “It didn’t smell right.”
As Nalley identified time and again, no group had requested this exercise. In truth, there hasn’t been any curiosity in any respect in Kaepernick over the past couple years. So what motive would the NFL need to attempt to make this occur now?
“Who knows,” Nalley stated. “I think eventually we’ll find out. People have speculated, is it (Collective Bargaining Agreement)-related? Is it contract negotiation related? I’m not really sure. I think today people were speculating it was legally related, trying to protect themselves against possible litigation but that’s not what I do. But the bottom line is Colin had to be protected this week with all the crazy stuff going on.”
And that safety concerned a backup plan. It was clear straight away the choice to shift the exercise to Charles Drew Excessive Faculty didn’t occur within the span of an hour or two. By the point media members made it from the Falcons’ facility in Flowery Department, Ga., there have been already personal safety guards lining the perimeter of the soccer stadium and digital camera crews from Kaepernick’s group organising.
In the long run, irrespective of the reservations he had about what the NFL was as much as, Kaepernick needed to do the exercise. So when the NFL didn’t conform to his situations, that’s precisely what he did.
“He had questions like all of us do, but he’s a competitor and he’s been telling everyone he’s been in shape for three years,” Nalley stated. “That’s why he wanted to do it in front of the media so everyone could see.”
However even when Kaepernick’s suspicions have been well-founded, it’s onerous to see how something that occurred Saturday will get him nearer to truly enjoying within the NFL.
We all know how this may play out. Kaepernick critics will say that the NFL, no matter its motives, provided him an opportunity to impress groups in a proper, organized setting and as a substitute he wasted their time by pulling the plug on the 11th hour. They’ll say this proves he’s extra fascinated by constructing his picture as a martyr and Nike pitch man than truly enjoying soccer. They’ll say that Kaepernick as soon as once more made himself a spectacle, which isn’t what groups need in a backup quarterback.
On the similar time, as a result of he as soon as once more confirmed up the NFL and turned what ought to have been a low-profile exercise right into a trigger, Kaepernick’s followers will solely grow to be extra devoted and extra aggrieved that he hasn’t gotten a legit likelihood. Spherical and spherical we go.
“Y’all saw him, he looked good, hopefully he gets signed,” Nalley stated. “That’s up to them.”
Saturday was an incredible second for Kaepernick the movie star and Kaepernick the activist. Possibly it was by no means meant to be an actual second for Kaepernick the soccer participant, so his ongoing battle with the NFL stays because it ever was. But when the NFL’s objective was to marginalize him even additional, it backfired in a single sense. By taking the narrative away from the NFL, Kaepernick solely acquired larger.