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Volume 26 No. 227
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Ray Lewis Claims Kaepernick's Girlfriend Thwarted Ravens' Plans To Sign QB

The Ravens were about to give Colin Kaepernick an "opportunity to get back" in the NFL until his girlfriend made a "racist gesture" on Twitter last month, according to Showtime's Ray Lewis. Lewis was talking to Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti about signing Kaepernick when Nessa Diab posted an image comparing Lewis and Bisciotti to characters in the movie "Django Unchained." Lewis said, "She doesn't know we're in the back office about to try to get this guy to sign. Steve Bisciotti said himself, ‘How you can crucify Ray Lewis when Ray Lewis is the one calling for Colin Kaepernick?’ I'm on the phone with this guy!" He added, "The only thing that went bad was that image where she tried to make us racist individuals. That's the sad part about this story." Lewis noted Ravens officials wanted to hear Kaepernick talk about the issue. Lewis: "Steve Bisciotti said, ‘I want to hear Colin Kaepernick speak to let me know he wants to play football’” ("Inside The NFL," Showtime, 9/5). PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio noted Lewis "made it clear that, absent that image posted by Kaepernick's girlfriend, Kaepernick would have been" signed by the Ravens. While Lewis likely believes his "explanation would make the situation better," it actually "makes the situation worse." Lewis' account means the Ravens "spurned a player not because of something he did but because of something his girlfriend did." It is "more evidence of the BS that has been propagated for months to justify Kaepernick's unemployment" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 9/5). 

BEYOND BELIEF: Several Twitter commentators questioned the veracity of Lewis' account. Esquire's Charles Pierce: "Apparently, Ray Lewis, the beau ideal of a reliable source, is passing along some bull about why the Ravens didn't sign Colin Kaepernick." Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman: "I challenge just the factual basis of this. Lewis makes it sound like the Ravens hierarchy were in a room and saw her tweet. Bullsh-- ... The owner didn't want to sign Kaepernick and now Lewis is acting as their agent to lie about Kaepernick and his girl. I said it. Lie." The Nation's Dave Zirin: "If the Ravens would sign someone who was party to a double homicide, a tweet alone would not stop them."

A REASONABLE ALIBI: FS1’s Shannon Sharpe said Diab's tweet "provided cover for the Ravens, because they say, ‘See, we were going to be willing to accept the blowback that was going to come with these anthem protests, but this was the final straw’” (“Undisputed,” FS1, 9/6). ESPN’s Will Cain said, “If you're Steve Bisciotti or Ray Lewis, how are you not completely disgusted by that comparison?" ESPN’s Mike Golic: “If that happened, I absolutely can see Bisciotti saying, ‘Well, that ends that. Not happening’” (“Mike & Mike,” ESPN Radio, 9/6). But ESPN's Max Kellerman said, “If he’s about to be signed and as a result of her comment he’s not signed, it proves her point. The point is that the owner can decide a favorable fate for another person on the goodness of his heart, not on the merits” (“First Take,” ESPN, 9/6).

PLAYERS SPEAKING OUT
: Panthers QB Cam Newton said it is "unfair" that Kaepernick is not on an NFL roster. Newton said, "Do I think that Kaepernick is better than some of the starting quarterbacks in this league? Absolutely. Should he be on a roster, in my opinion? Absolutely. There is no question about it. Is he good enough to be on a roster? Is he good enough to be a starting quarterback? Absolutely" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/6). ESPN.com's David Newton noted Newton is the latest high-profile QB to "say Kaepernick should be on a roster." Packers QB Aaron Rodgers recently specified the reason Kaepernick is not on a roster is "because of the protests" (ESPN.com, 9/5). Broncos LB Von Miller also said Kaepernick “should definitely be in” the NFL. He said, “There are not 64 quarterbacks that are better than Colin Kaepernick, that’s just cut and dry.” When asked whether Kaepernick's pregame protests were why he was not on a roster, Miller replied, “That’s the question all the players in the National Football League have been trying to answer” (“SI Now,” SI.com, 9/5).

THE ISSUES AT HAND: In DC, Mark Maske writes Kaepernick not being on a roster is a "bad look for the league, whether or not you agree with how Kaepernick conducted his protest." Maske: "Let’s not hear any more about this being about football-related considerations. Let’s not have another league official or owner of a franchise say that NFL teams do whatever they can to improve themselves and to win games." It is "not about football." Perhaps Kaepernick is "not even starting-quality now," but he "certainly belongs on a roster" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/6).

GOING TOO FAR? The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Ryan Parker reported FS1's Jason Whitlock was "blasted on social media" last night for mocking Kaepernick by "apparently allowing a white man wearing an afro, a 49ers jersey and a large black glove to impersonate the football player." Last night's episode of FS1's "Speak For Yourself" included a discussion on whether Kaepernick's "time in the NFL had come to an end." Whitlock tweeted, "Great to have Kap stop by the studio today," along with a photo of himself and the impersonator. The impersonator also "raised a gloved fist in air, resembling the Black Power Movement gesture" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 9/5).