Colin Kaepernick sent a clear message to the NFL and its owners following his workout on Saturday in Georgia.
According to The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue, while speaking to scouts from the Washington Redskins, New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs, Kaepernick told the group: “When you go back, tell your owners to stop being scared.”
Kaepernick gave a full statement following the workout. Here’s what he had to say.
“Let me start by saying I appreciate y’all coming out. That means a lot to me. Our biggest thing with everything today was making sure we had transparency in what was going on. We weren’t getting that elsewhere, so we came out here. It’s important y’all are here.
“I been ready for three years, I’ve been denied for three years. We all know why I came out here and showed it today in front of everybody. We have nothing to hide. We are waiting for the 32 owners, 32 teams and Roger Goodell, all of them to stop running — stop running from the truth, stop running from the people. We are out here, we ready to play. We are ready to go anywhere. My agent Jeff Nalley is ready to talk to any team. I will interview with any team at any time. I been ready, I’m staying ready and I continue to be ready.”
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback drew some positive reviews from the session. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, one scout was particularly impressed with Kaepernick’s arm strength, which has been a constant plus on his resume since his college days at Nevada.
“After today’s workout in Atlanta, an NFL executive at Colin Kaepernick’s throwing session said his arm talent is ‘elite’ and is the same as when he came out of college. He said that Kaepernick threw the ball well,” Schefter wrote.
NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora said the Kaepernick got some “very positive feedback” from the workout.
Colin Kaepernick Asks For Transparency, Moves Workout
It wasn’t smooth sailing during the day as Kaepernick and his representatives attempted to set up the workout with the NFL.
He was previously scheduled to take the field at the Atlanta Falcons’ training facility for the NFL-organized workout. However, after a disagreement about media and cameras being allowed into the workout, the quarterback and his representatives decided to move it to a local-area high school in Atlanta for “transparency.”
The session was live-streamed and filmed, as evidence of some footage that showed the QB’s big arm.
Here’s what Kaepernick’s side had to say about the decision to move the workout.
“From the outset, Mr. Kaepernick requested a legitimate process and from the outset the NFL league office has not provided one,” Kaepernick’s attorney Ben Meiselas and agent Jeff Nalley said in a statement “Most recently, the NFL has demanded that as a precondition to the workout, Mr. Kaepernick sign an unusual liability waiver that addresses employment-related issues and rejected the standard liability waiver from physical injury proposed by Mr. Kaepernick’s representatives.
“… Mr. Kaepernick simply asks for a transparent and open process which is why a new location has been selected for today.”
Since the outset, there have been questions about the NFL’s motives behind the workout, especially considering that Kaepernick seemed surprised by the announcement.
“I’m just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday,” Kaepernick tweeted on Tuesday night. “I’ve been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can’t wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday.”
Colin Kaepernick Looking for First NFL Opportunity Since 2017
Kaepernick recorded 58 starts during his six-year stint with the 49ers, collecting 12,271 yards, 72 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in his career. His last snap under center came in a 25-23 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Jan. 1, 2017.
He opted out of his contract with the 49ers following the season but was not signed as a free agent. He has struggled to get interest from NFL teams since and settled a collusion lawsuit with the league earlier this year that alleged he was being blackballed by the owners.
At the start of the 2016 season, Kaepernick began protests against police violence and systemic racism by first sitting and then kneeling during the national anthem.
Kaepernick’s protest sparked a movement in the NFL, with multiple players following suit and the league creating a policy in response.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said following his initial protest. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
He’s received a lot of support from current and former athletes, including Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, who tweeted support for Kaepernick on Saturday.
“Best of luck to [Colin Kaepernick] in his workout today!” LeBron wrote. “Pulling for you over here Young??!!! Regardless the outcome you’re SPECIAL and I thank you for being TRUE!”
We’ll see what comes of the workout, but it’s clear that Kaepernick made an impression and has generated a conversation with his performance.