As we all know, quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick has been effectively banned from the National Football League since the 2016 season for kneeling at games during the National Anthem to protest police violence against people of color. Over the years Kaepernick has shared workout videos designed to smash any doubt that he either doesn’t want to or isn’t prepared to play.
In what the NFL touted as an opportunity for the controversial athlete to land on a team, the league invited the former San Francisco 49er to complete a workout at the Atlanta Falcons’ training facility on November 16. But the workout by Kaepernick, who won his collusion case against the NFL in February, veered into controversy when he moved it to an unaffiliated venue shortly before he was set to begin. Per KPIX 5, a CBS station in the San Francisco Bay Area:
Just 15 minutes before Kaepernick was scheduled to work out for 25 NFL teams at the Atlanta Falcons’ training complex in Flowery Branch, his representatives announced the session had been moved 60 miles away to a high school in Riverdale. The stunning move seemed to catch everyone off-guard and came about an hour before the rescheduled workout was set to begin, putting many in scramble mode.
At issue, reports ESPN, was what Kaepernick representatives called a lack of transparency in the form of an “unusual liability waiver” and the denial of the player’s request to allow a video team and other media to film the exercise.
It is unclear how many NFL officials attended the relocated workout at Charles Drew High School in Riverdale, Georgia, but dozens of fans were on hand to watch the quarterback, who wore a T-shirt emblazoned with “Kunta Kinte” during his warmup.
In a statement posted by sports reporter Adam Shefter, the NFL said they were disappointed by what happened.
NFL’s response to Colin Kaepernick opting to do his own workout today in Atlanta: pic.twitter.com/uvUZGH7CQ5— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 16, 2019
After the workout, Kaepernick said in a statement, shared by @DanWolen: “I’ve been ready for three years. I’ve been denied for three years. We all know why and I came out here today and showed it in front of everybody.”
Colin Kaepernick made a 90 second statement before leaving pic.twitter.com/QlH2RTnLp5— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) November 16, 2019
Commentators such as Stephen A. Smith criticized Kap’s actions.
He literally ran away from the real workout ?? pic.twitter.com/HAuWKr9y7A— Stephen A. Smith Burner (@SASBurnerAcct) November 17, 2019
But Atlantic staff writer and podcaster Jemele Hill accused the NFL of phoniness.
Also understand all 32 NFL teams have had three years to contact Colin Kaepernick about a workout. That some of them are pump-faking like the schedule change was a determining factor is a lie. They were never serious in the first place. https://t.co/IJxLLKjb3r— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) November 18, 2019
Citing sources close to Jay Z, XXL reported that the Roc Nation founder, who drew criticism in August for partnering with the NFL, was angered by Kaepernick moving the workout.
Carolina Panther’ Eric Reid, who fought the NFL in the collusion case alongside Kaepernick, and who hasn’t stopped kneeling in protest, was at the workout in support. “The way he fights for people, the way he fights for justice, I want to make sure that I’m there to support him,” said Reid, courtesy of @RzstProgramming:
“Why is the NFL, why is Jay-Z, why are all these other pundits trying to slander Colin for protecting himself and wanting transparency?” -Eric Reid pic.twitter.com/sAQg3RLYFA— Resist Programming ? (@RzstProgramming) November 18, 2019
Bitch Media editor in chief Evette Dionne had choice words for billionaire Jay Z:
A reminder: There is no such thing as a good or ethical billionaire. That notion includes men like Jay-Z, who use movements they didn’t help build to line their own pockets and call it a form of social change. https://t.co/0iwhyqP1NO
— Evette Dionne ? (@freeblackgirl) November 17, 2019