News and Commentary

WATCH: After No Teams Call Him, Kaepernick Posts Defiant Message To League
Colin Kaepernick looks on during his NFL workout held at Charles R Drew high school on November 16, 2019 in Riverdale, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

It’s been over a week since Colin Kaepernick decided to ditch a special tryout put on by the NFL to give the former 49ers quarterback his best shot yet at getting back in the league and, unsurprisingly, none of the 32 teams have reached out to him. Kaepernick, meanwhile, is using footage taken by his team from his far less-attended, self-conducted “tryout” at an Atlanta high school to declare that he’s still “ready” and accuse the league of “denying” him.

On Monday, the quarterback-turned-social justice activist posted some highlights from his unofficial re-audition for the league and insisted that — despite having failed to show up at the NFL-organized workout, blaming a waiver and lack of media access, and defiantly accusing the league of “running” from him — he remains “ready” to jump back in.

“A huge thank you to all the people that made this happen in ATL,” Kaepernick tweeted along with the self-promotional video. “From our receivers , , , — my trainer Josh Hidalgo, the educators at Charles Drew HS & so many more. Can’t thank everyone enough. We stay ready.”

“I’ve been ready for three years. I’ve been denied for three years,” Kaepernick says in the self-promo video. “I continue to be ready… We have nothing to hide… We’re waiting for the 32 owners, 32 teams, Roger Goodell, all of them to stop running. To stop running from the truth. To stop running from the people.”

As reported by CBS News, the NFL’s special workout for Kaepernick on Nov. 16 was originally set to begin at 3 p.m. at the Atlanta Falcons’ practice facility in Flowery Branch, but “at 2:30, representatives for the free agent quarterback informed the league that Kaepernick would instead be conducting the workout at 4 p.m. at Drew High School in Riverdale, Georgia.”

The NFL event Kaepernick skipped reportedly included representatives from some 25 of the league’s 32 teams waiting to watch him perform. At the high school event, which drew far fewer scouts, Kaepernick initially wore a shirt invoking slavery and ended the pseudo-tryout by accusing the league of “running” from him.

“I’ve been ready for three years. I’ve been denied for three years,” Kaepernick declared to the cameras. “We all know why I came out here today and showed it today in front of everybody. We have nothing to hide, so we’re waiting for the 32 owners, 32 teams, Roger Goodell, all of them to stop running. To stop running from the truth. To stop running from the people. We’re out here. We’re ready to play. We’re ready to go anywhere. I’ll interview with any team at any time. I’ve been ready. I’m staying ready, and I’ll continue to be ready.”

Kaepernick and his supporters have attempted to blame the NFL for the debacle, accusing the league of presenting him with a waiver that was somehow “unacceptable.” But ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who supported Kaepernick until this latest stunt, pointed out on his show last week that a close examination of the original waiver Kaepernick signed for the league back in 2011 and the one the league asked him to sign for the event had only two minor differences that didn’t warrant refusal to participate in the workout.

Smith has been one of the most vocal of the critics of Kaepernick’s tryout stunt, stating that Kaepernick has now revealed that he wants to play “martyr” more than he wants to play in the league.

“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,” said Smith shortly after the workout fiasco. “This Colin Kaepernick, media can’t find him! He ain’t done no interviews; he ain’t talked to nobody; media can’t find him – but he wants the media available now. You see? You see? He don’t want to play; he wants to be a martyr. But guess what? It ain’t working this time.”

On Tuesday, ESPN published an insider look at “Why Colin Kaepernick and the NFL were never going to work out,” in which multiple NFL insiders make the case that the event was needlessly derailed by his camp’s distrust of the league.

Related: ‘I’m A Black Man, You Idiots!’: ESPN’s Smith Responds To Backlash For Saying Kaepernick ‘Eradicated’ His Points

This article has been expanded to include more quotes from Kaepernick’s Nov. 16 statement and a reference to ESPN’s insider report.