Colin Kaepernick is getting a chance from the National Football League. The former 49ers quarterback, who has been out of the league since 2016 and settled a collusion lawsuit against it, will work out for NFL team representatives on Saturday in Atlanta.
The unusual showcase was first reported by ESPN , who noted that Kaepernick requested that the workout take place on a Tuesday, the normal day when NFL free-agent showcases take place. The league, though, said Saturday would be the day. The workout will be run by former NFL coaches at the Atlanta Falcons’ practice facility in Flowery Branch, GA. No media will be permitted to attend.
The workout will consist of drills and a video interview with Kaepernick.
Already, there’s been some backlash. One NFL agent tweeted that he, too, had players he was hoping to get into a showcase.
“I also have players that haven’t been able to get a workout,” said agent Blake Baratz. “Would you mind setting up [theirs] too? The mere fact you are going out of your way to ensure this happens is admitting you colluded to keep him out. This is a charade to save face and pretty embarrassing.”
Why the NFL is doing the workout now is open to speculation. ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who broke the story, said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell may have approved of it to lessen the heat against the league.
“This is a reversal of that with the league office. This is the league office stepping in to try to make sure that Colin Kaepernick, who turned 32 last week, has a chance to show to teams what he can’t do, what he can do, what his level of interest is in returning, how much he’d like to be back in football. And, again, the NFL can’t make a team sign him I don’t think, but it can arrange something like this that really turns into Colin Kaepernick’s Pro Day.”
Kaepernick was the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem. His protest was quickly adopted by others, and caused fans, sponsors and advertisers to turn against the league. The NFL has since enlisted Jay-Z to be its ambassador for social justice causes and to help it program entertainment. The latter is particularly needed, as several artists boycotted the Super Bowl halftime last year.