Evanson column: Stunt shows Kaepernick no longer wants to play football
Colin Kaepernick doesn't want to play football.
Say what you will about the man, the protest that ultimately led to the end of his career or the circus that has surrounded him ever since, but there remains little doubt — he no longer wants to play, and he made that abundantly clear by way of his actions last weekend.
For those unfamiliar with the latest, Kaepernick was scheduled to participate in a workout this past Saturday outside Atlanta at the site of the Atlanta Falcons practice facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia. Despite being aware of the contingencies ahead of time (signing a waiver that's common for all free agent workouts that prohibits participants from suing a team or the league after the fact, the omission of outside media or independent video recording), the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback decided 30 minutes beforehand that he wasn't going to participate in the league-organized function attended by scouts from 25 NFL teams, but instead would be working out an hour away at Charles Drew High School in Atlanta.
This was not an impromptu move. He had security and select media in place upon his arrival, fans in pro-Kaepernick garb, videographers and permission from the proper authorities to use the school facility, which — according to The Undefeated's William C. Rhoden — was chosen specifically based on Mr. Drew being a noted black surgeon who invented a method of storing and preserving blood plasma, an innovation responsible for saving thousands of lives during World War II. This was a calculated move, and simply a predetermined middle finger to the league he no longer wants to be a part of.
I've written and spoken about Kaepernick in the past. I respect his right to do what he has done, but also believe people should respect and understand others' belief that the playing of the national anthem is never a time for agenda-driven acts of any sort. You don't have to agree with either, but you do — per our Constitution — have to afford them the right to their opinion, like you should with everything. You may not understand their position, but you should at least try. After all, that is the American way.
Regardless, whether you're a "Kap" guy or not, you can't deny that any chance he had of again playing football in the NFL went straight down the drain with his most recent stunt.
Did the league collude in an effort to keep him out of the NFL? Likely, as the two sides agreed on a relatively small settlement as part of Kaepernick and ex-teammate Eric Reid's lawsuit in February of this year.
Does Kaepernick have reason to be upset with the NFL after what he's sacrificed as the result of his protest? Sure, but there's a line out the door of disgruntled NFL players unhappy with the actions of a league that has its fair share of problems.
And would I blame the former signal-caller if he had a strong desire to stick it to the league and its officials in the wake of what has been a life-changing state of affairs? Heck no. But I also understand that figuratively spitting in the face of the same people you're asking for a job is a risky proposition.
Kaepernick had an opportunity last weekend. Twenty-five teams agreed to spend a Saturday afternoon watching him strut his stuff. Rather than do that, he opted for just the eight that chose to submit in the wake of his last-minute demands. That's not playing the odds, and it's certainly not the actions of a guy genuinely interested in a job only they can give him.
From the beginning early last week, this workout seemed destined never to occur. The instant Kaepernick started complaining about the guidelines, I knew it would never happen. And I was right. In any workplace, the employer makes the rules, and if you don't like the rules, don't work there. But if you're offended by their existence, I wish you well on a planet that hasn't yet been inhabited by humans.
Kaepernick had a chance last weekend to get a job, but rather than embrace that opportunity, he chose to complicate it in the interests of his cause. And that's OK, because his cause is bigger than a game that ultimately doesn't matter. But Kap doesn't want to play football, because just like his protest, his actions are speaking louder than his words.
Don't tell me I'm missing the point, because if the point was to play football again, it's Kaepernick who was off the mark.
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