Shortly before the NFL held a sham one-man
slave auction combine for Colin Kaepernick, the league presented the embattled activist and quarterback with a waiver that essentially torched the prospect of Kaepernick participating in the public relations hoax reportedly concocted by Jay-Z, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and NFL owners.
To be clear, this was a publicity stunt.
NFL teams are free to evaluate, work out and sign players at their discretion. But after reaching out to every team in the league, there hasn’t been a single team interested in even talking to Kaepernick or watching a workout. Yet last week, without any prompting, the NFL’s front office suddenly
demanded suggested that the teams who, again, had shown no interest in the former 49er QB—and who had to pay him millions in a grievance settlement—should head to Atlanta less than 24 hours before game time to watch Kaepernick exercise.
“I’m a little bit pessimistic because I’ve talked to all 32 teams,” Kaepernick’s agent Jeff Nalley said to CBS. “I’ve reached out to them recently, and none of them have had any interest. I’ll tell you this: No team asked for this workout. The league office asked for this workout.”
Aside from the suspicious timing, ESPN’s Howard Bryant notes that the league also prohibited Kaepernick’s team from filming the workout, a stipulation that is almost unheard of.
The issue that led to the impasse was the NFL’s insistence that Kaepernick sign an “unusual” waiver. Kaepernick has reportedly been mulling a collusion lawsuit against the NFL. Contrary to popular belief, Kaepernick has never challenged the NFL in a court of law. While news outlets have called Kaepernick’s previous settlement a “lawsuit,” it was technically an NFL Players Association grievance that was settled through arbitration, as required by the NFLPA union contract.
ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio, who is also a lawyer, reports:
The three-page, 13-paragraph documents contains several specific provisions that could be relevant to the question of whether the NFL was trying to parlay the waiver into a release of any claims for collusion/retaliation that Kaepernick could make as a result of his ongoing unemployment by the league since settling his first collusion case in February…
If I were representing Kaepernick, and if the goal were to have a genuine workout aimed at enhancing his chances of being signed by an NFL team, I would have asked immediately for the document to be revised to specifically clarify that any and all potential employment rights would be preserved. If the league had refused, I wouldn’t have signed it, because the language leaves the door sufficiently ajar for a subsequent defense to a collusion/retaliation case that signing the waiver extinguished the claims.
Here is the document in full:
According to Sports Illustrated, rapper, NFL partner and heralded capitalist, Jay-Z was “disappointed with Colin’s actions and believes he turned a legitimate workout into a publicity stunt.” Of course, Sports Illustrated didn’t name its “sources” but some have speculated that the quote came from the Official Entertainment Minstrel of the National Football League: Shawn Corey Carter.
While NFL insiders have said that Kaepernick looks as good or better than many of the 115 quarterbacks who have signed contracts to play in the NFL since Kaepernick was whiteballed, the signal-caller remains unsigned.
ESPN blowhard and Great Value Jason Whitlock, Stephen A. Smith, who explained that Kaepernick worked every day and spent his own money to show off his skills because Kaepernick wanted to be “a martyr,” remains a fucking joke.
Some people will undoubtedly take issue with the implication that Kaepernick was, or is, a slave. But that’s not how analogies work. For instance, if I called Stephen A. Smith the Michael Jordan of sellouts, that does not mean that I think Shuck and Jive Hall-of-Famer Stephen Asswipe Smith (I’m pretty sure that’s his real name—or at least his rap handle) is a great basketball player.
But if I did compare the NFL to a plantation, then Jay-Z would probably insist that working for Massa is better than freedom.