National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell said this week the “league has moved on” from Colin Kaepernick.
Goodell addressed reporters in Dallas following a league meeting on Wednesday.
On Colin Kaepernick and what went into the FA workout, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “It was about opportunity, a credible opportunity. … He chose not to take it, and I understand that.” And the league has moved on.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 11, 2019
The long-serving NFL commissioner fielded questions from the media on Kaepernick, a former San Francisco 49ers quarterback whose public protests against racial injustice have stirred controversy and outraged Americans who object to the ex-player’s practice of kneeling during the national anthem.
“It was about opportunity, a credible opportunity. … He chose not to take it, and I understand that,” Goodell said, according to NFL Network reporter Ian Rapaport.
The “credible opportunity” alluded to by Goodell is the mid-November workout the league held specifically for Kaepernick.
Jeff Nalley, Kaepernick’s agent, expressed dismay last month after Kaepernick decided to blow off the league workout so that he could perform for the media.
Afterward, Nalley told ESPN that he sent footage of the quarterback’s recent workout to all 32 NFL teams.
“I’ll be honest, I’m a little bit pessimistic because I’ve talked to all 32 teams,” he said. “I’ve reached out to them recently, and none of them have had any interest.”
According to ESPN’s Howard Bryant, Nalley also said Kaepernick is considering following the NFL owners to their March meeting in Palm Beach, Florida, and holding a second workout nearby.
Kaepernick changed the location of his long-awaited tryout at the last minute.
However, the move cost Kaepernick the interest of most of the teams that planned to attend the event. Representatives from at least 25 of the NFL’s 32 teams had been scheduled to attend the workout. But only a few made it to the new location.
After the workout at an Atlanta-area high school, Kaepernick told assembled reporters that he is ready to play “anywhere” in the league.
“I’ve been ready for three years. I’ve been denied for three years,” he said.
Colin Kaepernick made a 90 second statement before leaving pic.twitter.com/QlH2RTnLp5
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) November 16, 2019
He has said teams would not sign him because they wanted to distance themselves from the protests, which President Donald Trump criticized as unpatriotic and disrespectful.
“So we’re waiting for the 32 owners, 32 teams and [league commissioner] Roger Goodell to stop running,” the 32-year-old said in videotaped remarks to reporters. “Stop running from the truth, stop running from the people.
The NFL had arranged the tryout at the Atlanta Falcons training facility, but the quarterback’s representatives moved the workout to the high school stadium. Kaepernick said it was done so media could be present.
The quarterback showed up to the workout in a T-shirt emblazoned with “Kunta Kinte,” the name of a fictional American slave made famous by the 1977 “Roots” TV miniseries.
Kaepernick’s representatives moved the workout after accusing the NFL of not acting in a forthright manner in organizing the event.
“From the outset, Mr. Kaepernick requested a legitimate process and from the outset the NFL league office has not provided one,” they 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.”
Kaepernick also had requested all media be allowed into the workout to observe and film it, but the NFL denied the request, the statement said.
The NFL said it was informed of Kaepernick’s decision 30 minutes before the workout was to begin.
“We are disappointed that Colin did not appear for his workout,” the league said in a statement, adding it had made considerable effort to work cooperatively with Kaepernick’s representatives.
Before the move, both protesters and supporters had waited for Kaepernick outside the Falcons’ facility.
One protester, waving a U.S. flag, held a sign that said “Colin Kaepernick un-American Loser. Get out of my town.”
Taking a knee
Among the first players to kneel during the pregame national anthem in protest against extrajudicial killings of black people by police, Kaepernick has been unable to find a team to sign him since 2017.
A second-round draft choice in 2011, he played with the 49ers for six seasons, leading them to the 2013 Super Bowl and the National Football Conference title game the next season.
During the third preseason game in 2016 he began sitting during the anthem.
The following week and during regular season, Kaepernick began kneeling as protest against social injustice.
He became a free agent after the 2016 season and remains unsigned.
Kaepernick filed a collusion grievance against NFL owners in October 2017 after going unsigned as a free agent. The two sides resolved the grievance in February under a confidentiality agreement.