Stephen A. Smith tore into Colin Kaerpernick Saturday evening in a nearly three-minute rant. The First Take co-host posted a video on Twitter criticizing the free agent quarterback for his handling of an NFL-arranged workout session earlier in the day.
Shortly before the session was scheduled to start at the Atlanta Falcons training complex in Flowery Branch, Georgia, Kaepernick’s reps announced it had been moved to a high school field about 60 miles away in Riverdale.
They said the change was made to allow the media to cover the session, which the league had closed to journalists at the Falcons facility.
Smith suggested the switch was a stunt by Kaepernick and his reps.
“Twenty five teams show up in Georgia at the Atlanta Falcons practice facility — state of the art facility, NFL personnel, equipment, video, everything, and what does Colin Kaepernick do,” Smith said, “Colin Kaepernick wants to change the venue.”
“He don’t want to play,” Smith added after taking a long pause for emphasis. “He wants to be a martyr.”
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The ESPN star continued his tirade by saying Kaepernick’s supposed plan backfired.
“Guess what? It ain’t working this time. All of us believe that Colin Kaepernick would have showed out, and if he had showed out, I believe he would have had a job inside of two weeks,” Smith said. “But it didn’t happen, because he didn’t show. He wanted to show up at a high school in Georgia, not an NFL facility and then YouTube it live.”
Smith then said Kaepernick had run out of chances of ever getting signed to an NFL team.
“You don’t want to work. You just want to make noise and you want to control the narrative,” Smith insisted, adding, “It’s over.”
According to AP Sports, 32 teams were invited to the workout session at the Falcons complex. A total of 25 teams sent scouts to the facility, only to learn about an hour before the scheduled start that the location had been changed. “Only eight of the original 25 team representatives followed along to the new location,” wrote AP reporter Paul Newberry.
Meanwhile, Kaepernick told the media he’s ready to play in the NFL if given an opportunity.
“I’ve been ready for three years,” he said. “I’ve been denied for three years. We all know why. I came out here today and showed it in front of everybody. We have nothing to hide. We’re waiting for the 32 owners, the 32 teams, Roger Goodell, all of them to stop running, stop running from the truth, stop running from the people.”
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback started a movement in 2016, when he took a knee during the national anthem at games to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Other players followed suit, sparking a national debate.
The free agent has been out of the league for three years.
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