Colin Kaepernick’s Bait & Switch With NFL Sparks Twitter War Between Stephen A. Smith and Eric Reid

Exiled quarteback Colin Kaepernick hosted his own workout for NFL football scouts and media Nov. 16, 2019, at Charles R. Drew High School in Riverdale, Ga.
Photo: Todd Kirkland (AP)

Who’s zooming who?

Colin Kaepernick’s highly hyped “tryout” event for NFL scouts caused football fanatics to go apeshit yesterday.

Advertisement

On one hand, the modern-day folk hero (who actually sacrificed his professional career in the name of black people killed by police) made a last-minute switch of venue from the Atlanta Falcons compound to Charles Drew High School 60 miles away.

On the other hand, the almighty powerful National Football League is calling foul on the former San Francisco 49-er for not going along with their original plan.

“We are disappointed that Colin did not appear for his workout,” the league said in a statement. “Today’s session was designed to give Colin what he has consistently said he wants, an opportunity to show his football readiness and desire to return to the NFL.”

Kaepernick, who sported a Kunta Kinte t-shirt at one point, explained his decision to stage his very own impromptu passing display at the high school — named after the pioneering African-American surgeon who specialized in hematology.

Advertisement

“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,” said a statement from his camp.

Photo: Todd Kirkland (AP)
Advertisement

“Our biggest thing with everything today was to make sure we had transparency in what went on,” Kaepernick said. “We weren’t getting that elsewhere, so we came out here.”

According to the Associated Press, at least 50 media members scrambled to the Riverdale, Ga., high school to cover his workout. And only eight of the original 25 team reps showed up to the new location, including Philadelphia Eagles vice president of football operations Andrew Berry.

Advertisement

Scouts from the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Redskins were also reportedly in the place to be.

The exiled quarterback has not been signed by any team since he opted out of his contract with the 49ers in March 2017 to become a free agent. He made headlines during the 2016 season for kneeling during the national anthem before games to protest systematic racism and police brutality against black people.

Advertisement

“I’ve been ready for three years, I’ve been denied for three years,” Kaepernick told reporters following a 40-minute workout. “We all know why I came out here: to show you today, in front of everybody, we have nothing to hide. So 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.” 

Black Twitter exploded after what I will diplomatically refer to as … a media spectacle.

Advertisement

And as can be expected, ESPN’s beloved commentator Stephen A. Smith got into the fray offering his two cents about the day’s bizarre events.

Needless to say, he didn’t STANDWITHKAP.

According to Smith: “This man wanted a chance. Twenty-five teams show up in Georgia at the Atlanta Falcons practice facility … And what does Colin Kaepernick do?” Smith said, in part. “Not Tuesday, when he found out about it. Not Wednesday, not Thursday, not Friday, Saturday, three hours before the workout, because of some issue with a liability waiver, Colin Kaepernick wants to change the venue. Colin Kaepernick wants his own receivers. Colin Kaepernick wants to video things himself. Colin Kaepernick wants the media … He don’t want to play. He wants to be a martyr.”

Advertisement

Carolina Panthers player Eric Reid, who played with Kaepernick in San Francisco and filed a grievance against the league for allegedly shutting them out for the protests, took umbrage at Smith’s comments, sparking a dialogue about who was tap dancing for the NFL.

Advertisement

When news broke last week of Kaepernick’s tryout, Reid was skeptical and said it seemed like a “PR stunt.”

“It’s disingenuous,” Reid said during a locker room interview on Tuesday. “They want the appearance of giving Colin a chance, but they give him two hours’ notice and tell it has to be on a Saturday when they know decision-makers are traveling. So is this real? We’ll see.”

Advertisement

Reid must’ve been reading the tea leaves because here we are today.

Lots of press. Lots of chatter. Lots of scuttlebutt.

Any decisions?

Either way, all eyes are on the NFL.

Was it much ado about nothing as far as Kaepernick’s original cause?

In this Oct. 2, 2016, file photo, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert, left, stands as outside linebacker Eli Harold, from bottom left, quarterback Colin Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara, Calif.
Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez (AP)
Advertisement

I’m also wondering whether yesterday’s meshugas is the NFL’s latest attempt to try curry favor with all the woke folk standing with Kap—just in time for the Super Bowl?

Share This Story

About the author

Karu F. Daniels

Hailing from "the thorough borough" of Brooklyn, Mr. Daniels has written for The New York Times, Associated Press, CNN, Essence, VIBE, NBC News, The Daily Beast, The New York Daily News and Word Up!