53,678 views |Nov 16, 2019, 05:59pm | Courtesy of Forbes
Colin Kaepernick Situation Proves NFL Collusion Is Real And Has No Bounds
Pretty much the entire sports world was thrown for a loop earlier this week when it was announced that the NFL had set up a league-wide workout for free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
The Super Bowl signal-caller has not played since the 2016 season when he started the now infamous national anthem protests that summer. Since then, a plethora of lesser quarterbacks have both been rostered by NFL teams and started games.
In terms of what Kaepernick brings to the table from an on-field perspective, he’s better than pretty much every backup quarterback and a couple handfuls of starters. This is what led Kaepernick to file for a lawsuit claiming collusion on the part of the NFL and its 32 teams. Today In: Business
We now have a better understanding of why the league settled said lawsuit, reportedly paying Kaepernick between $1 and $10 million. It colluded against the free agent.
There’s no better representation of this than what we saw from the league on Saturday before the scheduled workout. It demanded that Kaepernick sign an unusual waiver that included potential employment claims.
A lawyer himself, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk had this to say.
“As a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT, when Kaepernick’s camp suggested a standard injury waiver that didn’t sweep broadly to absolve the NFL from its ongoing violation of his rights, league representatives said that the proposed release had been drafted by NFL general counsel Jeff Pash, and that Pash wanted his release to be signed,” the report noted.
This was an attempt by the NFL to protect itself from any further lawsuits by Kaepernick and his camp. And it failed at an epic level. The jig is up. The jig has been up since the announcement of this workout earlier in the week.
Led by Commissioner Roger Goodell, the NFL had no real plan for transparency here. As Kaepernick noted in a release, the league would not allow media members into the workout at the Falcons’ facility. It also would not allow Kaepernick’s team to film said workout.
Instead, the quarterback and his reps decided to move the workout. It took place at another facility and is not league sanctioned. Teams were still invited to intend. Media, too.
The NFL itself released a deadpan statement on the entire drama. In the process, it did not touch on the primary issues Kaepernick’s camp had.
This is not normal behavior. The NFL Network legitimately broadcasts pro days for the top prospects heading into draft season. It’s an annual thing. It’s a big thing. But it wanted no transparency. It did not want to be put on the spot if Kaepernick absolutely killed the workout. He did.
There was no real attempt by the league to help Kaepernick continue a career that was derailed primarily because of the league’s unwillingness to accept dissenting opinions – a trademark of America’s democracy.
This became clear throughout the process. From the NFL scheduling the workout on a Saturday to it giving Kaepernick two hours to accept, the limits were as obvious as it gets.
A Saturday workout? That’s when top-level team scouts and general managers sprawl out throughout the country to check in on NFL Draft prospects. Head coaches are not going to attend the workout one day before their teams are slated to play.
Typically, workouts are on a Tuesday. That’s when general managers and scouts can getaway. It’s also the deadline for teams to roster players for the following week. Instead, the league set this up on legitimately the worst-off day of the NFL calendar. Let that one sink in for a second.
What could have been a very good opportunity for the NFL to move on from the ugly Kaepernick drama of the past 32 months has turned out yet another revelation. The league is indeed conspiring to keep the much-maligned quarterback off the gridiron.
It was just earlier this year that the NFL announced a partnership with hip-hop artist Jay-Z for an “Inspire Change” initiative that focuses on advancing social and racial justice. The idea was called a sham by some within the Kaepernick movement and others around the NFL, primarily because it did not include the free agent.
Reports suggest that the NFL set up this workout at the behest of Jay-Z, who feels like his reputation has been damaged by the above-mentioned relationship with the league.
“My source says Jay-Z was putting pressure on the commissioner because according to my source, Jay-Z said that he took a reputational bullet for the commissioner when they had that press conference, his new role with the NFL—the social agenda, social injustice,” respected media personality Dan Patrick noted on his daily show.
If that is indeed the case, the NFL did not do this out of the goodness of its heart or to help Kaepernick regain employment that was stolen from him in the first place.
It’s in this that a quarterback who put up 18 total touchdowns and four interceptions in his last appearance back in 2016 is unlikely to ever play in the NFL again.
It’s certainly a black eye for the league, one that in the eyes of some it will never recover from. Follow me on Twitter.
Editor at Large of Sportsnaut, contributor here at Forbes. Seen on Fox Sports and MSN. Heard on Fox Sports Radio and ESPN Radio. Previous bylines include: Bleacher Report, Pro Football Focus, Yahoo! Sports and eDraft. Read Less