Colin Kaepernick’s girlfriend went on a five-day Twitter tirade after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced last week the league is done with the quarterback.
During a news conference Wednesday in Irving, Texas, Goodell responded to a reporter’s question about a November NFL workout that Kaepernick canceled at the last minute rather than sign a required liability waiver.
“This was about creating an opportunity,” Goodell said. “We created that opportunity. It was a unique opportunity, a credible opportunity and he chose not to take it. I understand that. And we’ve moved on here.”
Nessa Diab, a 38-year-old radio and TV host who has been dating Kaepernick, 32, since at least 2016, didn’t take the rejection well. She responded furiously when NFL reporter Ian Rapoport quoted Goodell in a tweet.
Diab accused Goodell of being part of a conspiracy with unnamed “OTHERS” to “put sneaky verbiage in the waiver.” She took particularly issue with the commissioner’s claim that the workout was a “credible opportunity.”
. @nflcommish soooo YOU & OTHERS worked w multiple teams AND the front office to put sneaky verbiage in the waiver you wanted @Kaepernick7 to sign & wouldn’t allow the workout to be transparent & you call it “credible”? Hope you keep your story straight. https://t.co/Y1CdBmHLF8
— NESSA (@nessnitty) December 11, 2019
The anatomy of a meltdown
After posting a promotional tweet for T-Mobile, Diab retweeted her original post. Then, she made the exact same commentary on a video of Goodell’s press conference and retweeted that, twice.
Let me say it again. @nflcommish soooo YOU & OTHERS worked w multiple teams AND the front office to put sneaky verbiage in the waiver you wanted @Kaepernick7 to sign & wouldn’t allow the workout to be transparent & you call it “credible”? Hope you keep your story straight. https://t.co/gbG6reMxVi
— NESSA (@nessnitty) December 13, 2019
Along with links to supportive “hot takes” by journalists and activists, Diab posted and retweeted various formulations of her argument that the NFL never intended to give Kapernick a chance, repeatedly denying that the workout was “credible.”
See the factual waiver details. Again,here are important facts that @nflcommish + league+others &their media shields are NOT willing to address truthfully.This was NOT a “credible opportunity.”
NFL's primary aim for Colin Kaepernick:Sign a waiver https://t.co/gX7A2MTa2l
— NESSA (@nessnitty) December 13, 2019
“Let’s celebrate Colin didn’t allow himself to get played by the league+the others who used that workout to cover up their malicious intentions,” she said in one version of her case.
There are ppl who give up their rights&integrity for “looks” & a dollar, that’s their belief. Let’s celebrate Colin didn’t allow himself to get played by the league+the others who used that workout to cover up their malicious intentions. WATCH https://t.co/wUlfn5NSXQ @RickStrom
— NESSA (@nessnitty) December 14, 2019
On Sunday, the fifth day of her meltdown, Diab shared a tweet accusing Goodell of “caving to [President Donald] Trump,” who has harshly criticized Kaepernick and urged the NFL to take a hard line against him and other kneeling players.
Diab has been a fierce advocate for Kaepernick since 2016, when as a San Francisco 49er, he began kneeling during the national anthem to protest police violence against black Americans. According to reports, Diab is also said to be an influence on her boyfriend’s thinking.
In an August 2017 tweet, when Kaepernick was looking for a new team, Diab seemed to compare Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti to a slave owner and the franchise’s retired star Ray Lewis to a “house slave.” Lewis has said her tweet convinced the Ravens not to bring on Kaepernick as a backup quarterback.
After going unsigned as a free agent, Kaepernick in October filed a collusion grievance against NFL owners. The two sides resolved the grievance in February under a confidentiality agreement.
The Nessa Diab effect?
Last month, Kaepernick backed out of his scheduled Nov. 16 workout for some 25 teams at the Atlanta Falcons’ practice facility. Instead, he showed up at nearby high school wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with “Kunta Kinte,” the name of a fictional American slave made famous by the 1977 “Roots” TV miniseries. Only a handful of scouts followed him to the new location, where he held his own workout.
Afterward, he told assembled reporters he was ready to play “anywhere” in the NFL, but claimed the league and Goodell were “running” from him — and from “the people.”
While some fans sided with Kaepernick against the league, many commentators said he had proved he wasn’t serious about playing football.
“You don’t wanna work. You just wanna make noise, and you wanna control the narrative,” said ESPN host Stephen A. Smith in a Twitter video after the stunt. “It’s over. Colin Kaepernick’s aspiration in the NFL, for an NFL career. It’s over.”
League owners seemed to agree. Kaepernick’s agent, Jeff Nalley, later told ESPN that he sent footage of his client’s performance to all 32 NFL teams, but found zero potential takers. According to Nalley, Kaepernick was considering following the owners to a March summit in Palm Beach, Florida, in bid to regain their attention.
Kaepernick’s lawyer Mark Mark Geragos claimed two teams might still be interested, but he did not name them.
- Colin Kaepernick./Nessa Diab.: Screen grabs