Colin Kaepernick's Reps Question Legitimacy Of QB's Private Workout
The NFL is holding a private workout on Saturday for Colin Kaepernick, but because of the "shroud of mystery around the workout and because none of the 32 NFL teams had been informed prior to Tuesday," Kaepernick's reps "began to question the legitimacy of the workout and process and whether it was just a PR stunt by the league," according to sources cited by Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Sources said that Kaepernick and his reps "weren't alerted" about the workout until yesterday morning. Kaepernick's team "asked for the workout to be on a Tuesday, which typically is when all NFL workouts take place, since head coaches and general managers can more easily attend." However, sources said that the NFL insisted the workout "had to be on a Saturday." When the league was "asked if it could be on the following Saturday ... the NFL said no and didn't provide a reason why." When Kaepernick's reps "asked if a team or teams had asked for the workout, they explained that the NFL league office said, 'We can't tell you that.'" The reps also said that because GMs and head coaches make personnel decisions, "especially as important as the quarterback position is," they "wanted to see a list of personnel executives and coaches who would be attending the workout." Meanwhile, sources said that the workout will be held at the Falcons' team facility in Atlanta and will be administered by National Football Scouting President Jeff Foster. The workout will be "closed to the media" (ESPN.com, 11/13). CBS' Tony Dokoupil said Kaepernick "didn't get much warning" about the workout. CBS' Anthony Mason noted that is "kind of odd" ("CBS This Morning," 11/13).
NO PRIOR NOTICE GIVEN: Sources said that the NFL earlier this year "held discussions with its member clubs and Kaepernick's representatives on steps it would take to facilitate a workout for the quarterback." The "result of those talks is the announcement of Saturday's workout." However, a source said that the league's messaging "came out of the blue." A Saturday tryout "conflicts with the regular NFL scouting of college football games." Additionally, forcing "high-end NFL personnel to get on flights to and from Atlanta hours before Sunday's kickoffs seems likely to limit the number of attendees" (THERINGER.com, 11/13). However, in Miami, Adam Beasley notes at least one NFL team will be at the workout. Dolphins coach Brian Flores this morning said that the organization "will have a representative at Kaepernick’s open audition." Flores: "We do our due diligence on all players so we’ll have someone there” (MIAMI HERALD, 11/13).
CONCERNS OVER LEGITIMACY: SLATE's Jeremy Stahl wrote it "remains unclear if this weekend's event is a legitimate tryout or a league-orchestrated PR move." Given the "logistics of the workout and the backstory behind it," there seem to be reasons to "wonder how genuine an opportunity this is going to be." The NFL's "lack of flexibility on the terms of the workout and the last-minute nature of the move raise the prospect that this is all a publicity stunt -- that the league wants it to look like it's giving Kaepernick a chance without actually giving him a chance" (SLATE.com, 11/12). Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman cited an NFC West team official as saying, "This entire thing is a sham. The NFL is full of shit. It's a show. But he should do it because some of us are sincere. Some of us see him for what he is: a good man" (TWITTER.com, 11/12). ESPN's Dan Graziano said, "There is justified skepticism around this whole situation because of how it's gone the last three years." ESPN's Ryan Clark said this seems like a way for the NFL "to distance themselves from the blackball talk" and from the accusations the NFL does not want Kaepernick as "part of this league." ESPN's Desmond Howard said this is "like a movie: written, directed, scripted and produced by the NFL for their own PR purposes." Howard: "It's a big PR stunt and seems very disingenuous" ("Get Up," ESPN2, 11/13). YAHOO SPORTS' Charles Robinson writes under the header, "Just Like NFL’s Deal With Jay-Z, The Colin Kaepernick Workout Looks Like A PR Trap" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/13). SI's Jimmy Traina writes, "This workout isn't about Kaepernick. It's not about getting Kaepernick a job in the NFL. It's about the NFL trying to convince people that in the end, the league did the right there where Kaepernick is concerned" (SI.com, 11/13).
LEAGUE CHANGING ITS TUNE? USA TODAY's Jarrett Bell writes he suspects Saturday's workout was arranged by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and others to "prove to the public that Kaepernick ... wasn't blackballed after all." Bell: "Hopefully this is a signal that NFL decision-makers have moved beyond the kneeling as a reason for shutting Kaepernick out of the league." This is an "unprecedented move for the NFL to set up a showcase for one player" (USA TODAY, 11/13). FS1's Shannon Sharpe said he has "never heard of the NFL organizing a tryout for a player" as that is "normally reserved" for the teams. FS1's Skip Bayless: "The league always says, 'We do not get involved in the working out of players for specific teams'" ("Undisputed," FS1, 11/13).
WAS JAY-Z BEHIND THIS? FS1's Sharpe wondered if Kaepernick's workout is the "first big move" by Jay-Z as part of the alliance between the NFL and Roc Nation and if the rapper was "working something behind the scenes." Sharpe said if Kaepernick is not signed by a team, then "everybody's going to say, 'See? I told you it was a sham'" ("Undisputed," FS1, 11/13). ESPN's Max Kellerman said Jay-Z could be "trying to broker something here." However, for the NFL to "leak it to the national press a day ahead of time is not the way this stuff normally goes down" ("First Take," ESPN, 11/13). NBCSN's Chris Simms said even if Jay-Z is behind all of this, the NFL "would never want to look like they're listening to somebody like Jay-Z and letting him call the shots." But NBCSN's Mike Florio said the NFL "can't keep Jay-Z from leaking that he had fingerprints on this and I guarantee you he would have" if it was his idea ("PFT," NBCSN, 11/13).