Sources: No NFL Teams Have Reached Out To Colin Kaepernick
Colin Kaepernick worked out in front of eight NFL teams on Saturday, but his representatives have "not heard from any teams with either an invitation to work out privately or an offer to sign a contract," according to sources cited by Mike Florio of PRO FOOTBALL TALK (11/17). In N.Y., Ian Mohr notes Jay-Z was "not pleased" with what took place on Saturday. Jay-Z has a partnership with the NFL through his Roc Nation label, and reportedly "pushed for the league to give Kaepernick the workout." A source said, "Jay-Z feels disappointed with Colin's actions, and believes he turned a legitimate workout into a publicity stunt" (N.Y. POST, 11/18).
CALLING AN AUDIBLE: The AP's Paul Newberry noted Kaepernick on Saturday "threw passes for about 40 minutes on a high school field, then signed autographs for hundreds of fans who gathered in an end zone to watch his NFL workout that was suddenly moved." Kaepernick's reps announced the change of location "less than an hour before the start of the session." His team said that they "called the last-minute audible to let journalists watch and videotape the workout, adding the shift was prompted 'because of recent decisions made by the NFL.'" The league had previously declared the workout "would be closed to the media." Kaepernick's reps said that he had "asked that media and an independent film crew be allowed to attend and videotape the original workout," but the NFL "denied the request." Kaepernick after the workout said, "We're waiting for the 32 owners, the 32 teams, (Commissioner) Roger Goodell, all of them to stop running, stop running from the truth, stop running from the people" (AP, 11/17). CBS Sports' James Brown said, "There is immense mutual distrust in the relationship between Kaepernick and the league, its office, owners and teams." Brown said Kaepernick had an "opportunity, no matter how you cut it, to build a bridge toward a return to the league." Brown: "Twenty-five teams expressed their interest to come see the workout, and he didn't take advantage of it. Now, history has shown that to move forward it is most effectively done inclusively, to move from protest to progress, and this was a moment missed" ("NFL Today," CBS, 11/17).
MOVIN' AROUND: In N.Y., Mark Fischer wrote the sudden change in location "seemed to catch everyone off-guard," putting many in "scramble mode" (N.Y. POST, 11/17). USA TODAY's Nate Scott cited sources as saying that Kaepernick had "apparently been in Atlanta since Thursday," but was "wary that the NFL would try to throw a curveball late, which is why he had a backup field ready to go" (USA TODAY, 11/17). NBC SPORTS' Peter King writes, "Does someone dying for a tryout place all these obstacles in front of him at age 32, and then cancel the NFL workout and move the workout to a high-school field 60 miles away, while his last chances to play in the NFL fade away more and more by the day?" (NBCSPORTS.com, 11/18). ESPN's Chris Mortensen said, "The level of mistrust between the league and the Kaepernick camp is at a very high level and I even had one evaluator say, 'I'm not sure he really wants to play football. I think he wanted to get a different message out'" ("Get Up," ESPN, 11/18). USA TODAY's Mike Jones writes Kaepernick "sabotaged his opportunity and took another step further away from returning to the NFL." Jones: "Worst of all, he lent further credence to those who have long suspected he never really was all that serious about playing again" (USA TODAY, 11/18).
FILM FRENZY: One team official said that Kaepernick's reps "wanted to film the workout and distribute the film" because they "didn't trust NFL Films producing the video" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 11/17). Kaepernick's agent, Select Sports Group's Jeff Nalley, said, "Something didn't smell right. Nothing like this has ever happened. Roger Goodell has said the league does not get involved in personnel decisions. So why now? From the beginning it seemed odd. We had to protect (Kaepernick) in this whole process." YAHOO SPORTS' Busbee & Robinson noted when it "became clear that the NFL would not bend on either the waiver or video issues," Kaepernick's team "attempted a different approach" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/17). Kaepernick's attorney Mark Geragos said they suspected the NFL "would have wanted to cherry pick whatever footage" came from the workout. He added, "This was a publicity stunt on the part of the NFL and we called their bluff" ("GMA," ABC, 11/18). Meanwhile, the NFL said that it "agreed to a request made Friday night by Nike," with Kaepernick's approval, to "shoot an ad mentioning the teams present" for the workout (WASHINGTON POST, 11/17).
ILLEGAL PROCEDURE? The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Andrew Beaton noted as Kaepernick "proceeded to conduct the workout with video cameras and reporters present," the NFL "took off its gloves and made pointed remarks directly aimed at Kaepernick's conduct surrounding the event" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/17). Beaton in a separate piece writes the problems on Saturday "proved insurmountable." A source said that at issue was the "language that Kaepernick's team believed could be used against them in potential future litigation over employment issues." Instead of "simply addressing standard injury concerns, the NFL's waiver included broad language that Kaepernick would forfeit any claims against the league and its teams 'related directly or indirectly' to the workout" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/18). SI.com's Michael McCann wrote under the header, "Legal Implications Of Colin Kaepernick's NFL Workout" (SI.com, 11/17). PFT's Mike Florio said, "History made it hard for both sides to have the level of trust necessary to believe from Kaepernick's perspective that this was a legitimate opportunity." He added, "The league contends that it was, but from Kaepernick's perspective they were being very careful and it resulted in a dispute about the language of the waiver" ("FNIA," NBC, 11/17). In N.Y., Ken Belson writes after all the "drama and hype of the past week, Kaepernick and the NFL still do not trust each other" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/18).
IN OR OUT? In Boston, Ben Volin writes Saturday's "verbal war with the NFL should end any notion of Kaepernick signing with a team in the near future." However, Kaepernick did "prove he still has the minimum athletic skill to warrant a real, honest workout" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/18). In L.A., LZ Granderson wrote what the NFL "needs to do is move past what it thinks it might lose because of his inclusion and instead recognize all that it can gain by being fair" toward Kaepernick (L.A. TIMES, 11/17). ESPN.com's Vaughn McClure wrote it was a "solid throwing session overall, particularly given the circumstances" (ESPN.com, 11/16). USA TODAY's Nancy Armour wrote the "hate, bigotry and fear" that have kept Kaepernick out of the NFL are "dying, and he made the excuses the owners have been hiding behind look more and more laughable with every throw Saturday" (USA TODAY, 11/17). USA TODAY's Dan Wolken wrote "nothing about the way Saturday unfolded should make you believe Colin Kaepernick will play in the NFL again." It is "hard to see Saturday as anything but a setback if the goal was to actually play in the NFL again" (USA TODAY, 11/17).