If there is one thing the sports world has learned during the past four years is that Colin Kaepernick is not afraid of controversy and will do things his way.
Out of the blue, the NFL contacted Kaepernick’s representatives early last week and said it had arranged for him to work out in front of team representatives on Saturday, Nov. 16.
There still remains no explanation why it had to be that day, and Kaepernick said he would oblige – if he could have a bit more time to prepare.
“No,” said the NFL. On top of that, the league would not tell Kaepernick and his reps who his receivers would be and it insisted that the entire workout be done in secrecy. Kaepernick’s camp was forbidden from videotaping the event. Kaepernick and Company knew it was a sham.
The stage was set for him at the Atlanta Falcons practice facility at Flowery Branch, Georgia, but Kaepernick decided to move the workout to an Atlanta high school and post the show on You Tube.
Instead of 25 teams being on hand, just eight had representatives there. Kaepernick proved he can still throw NFL-ready passes and that he is in tremendous shape.
The Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets, Washington, San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions and Tennessee Titans had representatives at the workout. They should be applauded, even if none extend a contract offer to Kaepernick.
“I've been ready for three years,'” Kaepernick told reporters.
“I've been denied for three years. We all know why I came out here. Showed it today in front of everybody. We have nothing to hide. So, we're waiting for the 32 owners, 32 teams, Roger Goodell, all of them, to stop running. Stop running from the truth. Stop running from the people.”
Kaepernick’s agent Jeff Nalley said on ESPN he is “pessimistic” about the chance of Kaepernick being signed.
ESPN’s Vaughn McClure reported that Nalley said “I'll be honest, I'm a little bit pessimistic because I've talked to all 32 teams.
“I've reached out to them recently, and none of them have had any interest. I'll tell you this: No team asked for this workout. The league office asked for this workout.”
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who did not send a representative, said the workout was not about football and called Saturday’s situation “unfortunate.” I’m not sure if he is blaming Kaepernick, the NFL or both.
My guess is that Kaepernick remains unemployed the rest of the season. Come March 1, the debate will begin again. I can’t wait.
The color of money
Colin Kaepernick says he want the NFL to “stop runnin.’
Maybe loudmouth, attention-seeking, click-chasing, self-serving Stephen A. Smith of everything ESPN will quit running his mouth now that he is being called an NFL shill who turned on Kaepernick to protect is seven-figure annual income.
Smith immediately took the opportunity to trash Kaepernick, saying in an online video post, the black-balled quarterback would rather be a martyr than play again in the NFL, adding that he wanted to “control the narrative.”
“Guess what? It ain’t working this time, Smith said.
“All of us believe that Colin Kaepernick would have showed out, and if he had showed out, I believe he would have had a job inside of two weeks.
“But it didn’t happen, because he didn’t show. He wanted to show up at a high school in Georgia, not an NFL facility and then YouTube it live.”
Smith’s post immediately found its way to conservative websites including FOX News and Breitbart and he then faced a multitude of backlash from the African-American community – and Kaepernick’s close friend and confidant Eric Reid of the Carolina Panthers.
Reid responded on Twitter with a video clip of Daffy Duck tap dancing and said, “Tap dancing for the NFL like (Daffy Duck). Damn straight Colin wants to control the narrative! He supposed to trust the organization that blackballed him and has done absolutely nothing in good faith??? Born on Tuesday, just not last Tuesday.”
He continued saying Smith, NFL player Malcolm Jenkins (who is working with the NFL’s so-called social justice agenda) and Jay-Z “prance around doing the NFL’s bidding to try 2 burry Colin.”
Feeling the heat, Smith countered with another over-the-top response.
“When I spoke about how (Kaepernick’s) points are eradicated, I’m not talking about the kneeling. I’m not talking about the protesting. I’m a black man, you idiots! You think I have a problem with a man that is kneeling and protesting racial oppression and police brutality?” he wrote on Twitter.
By Wednesday, Smith was silent on the Kaepernick affair. I wonder why.
When I was senior editor at Emerge in Washington, New York Times sports columnist Bill Rhoden also penned a monthly column for the magazine. I was honored to work with him, as he is one of the most respected sports writers – of any race or gender – in the world.
Rhoden now rights for the ESPN website The Undefeated and I agree with his take Kaepernick’s Saturday moves.
“As a young player, Kaepernick beat teams with his arm and his legs. Today at age 32, Kaepernick can win with his mind as well. That is what he did Saturday,” wrote Rhoden.
“That’s what frightens the NFL.”
Rhoden asked, “Why would a man who meticulously constructed the image of a football activist, shunned by the league, validate a sham tryout by participating it?”
If the NFL’s hastily-arranged workout was a publicity stunt, Kaepernick responded with a stunt of his own, one that was far more effective in securing his imprimatur as a man of the people.”
I stand with Bill, not Stephen A.
Baseball skips black managers
Of the eight managerial jobs that were open when the 2019 Major League Baseball season ended, seven have been filled. None has gone to a black man. The Pittsburgh Pirates still have an opening, but no African-American candidates are rumored to have been/will be interviewed.
Gabe Kapler was fired after two seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was gifted Bryce Harper in free agency and had a solid lineup to begin the season. The team flopped in the season’s second half.
Kapler is such an oddball that it’s reported that several of his players detested him. Phillies owner fired Kapler, regardless of what his general manager and other front office folks had to say. What does that tell you?
Kapler wasn’t unemployed very long. The San Francisco Giants hired him last week to replace future Hall of Famer Bruce Bochy – and Giants fans have revolted.
Four years ago, when Kapler was director of the Los Angeles Dodgers minor league system, a 17-year-old girl contacted him and said she had been assaulted by two women – and several Dodger minor league players were witnesses. He did nothing.
The girl later accused one of the players of sexual assault. He said he didn’t know and police were never contacted.
Kapler’s introductory press conference was tense and very little was said about baseball.
“I think this is the right time to say that I’m sorry that I didn’t make all the right moves,” Kapler said.
“Everything that I did I acted on from a place of goodness and from my heart and wanting to do the right thing, but I was naive. I was in over my skis and trying to do things on my own when it was very clear that I needed counsel.”
This guy has a job, and the honorable and successful Dusty Baker does not. Think about that for a minute.
The Reid Roundup
Of all weeks, Jay-Z is silent … Leave it to St. Louis’ own Sheldon Richardson to defend Cleveland Browns teammate Myles Garrett for bashing Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head with Rudolph’s own helmet during a melee last week. “He was defending himself,” said Richardson … Former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is now a special assistant in baseball operations for the Los Angeles Angels. He’s back with Albert Pujols and working for former Cubs skipper Joe Maddon … Suddenly, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is front-runner for NFL MVP … Syracuse students protested racist graffiti on a dormitory wall, compelling basketball coach Jim Boeheim to say during a postgame press conference, “We’ve been through a lot of situations here in 57 years (as a player and coach), and I think we’re very committed to something like that not happening at Syracuse University.” … Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford is “sick and tired of death threats” he received via social media after his team’s loss to Minnesota. Imagine how bad it would be if he was black … Chick-fil-A has axed donations to not-for-profit groups that campaign against gay marriage. Among them is Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which hosts youth sports camps at several HBCUs.
Alvin A. Reid was honored as the 2017 “Best Sports Columnist – Weeklies” in the Missouri Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest and is a New York Times contributor. He is a panelist on the Nine Network program, Donnybrook, a weekly contributor to “The Charlie Tuna Show” on KFNS and appears monthly on “The Dave Glover Show” on 97.1 Talk.” His Twitter handle is @aareid1.