Colin Kaepernick Moves Workout Amid Dispute with the N.F.L.

Colin Kaepernick Moves Workout Amid Dispute with the N.F.L.


Colin Kaepernick made a last-second decision on Saturday to move his workout for N.F.L. team officials to a new location in a bid, he said in a statement, for a “legitimate process” that the league “has not provided” because it would not allow the news media or an independent film crew to attend.

Kaepernick said the N.F.L. also had demanded that he sign an “unusual liability waiver” as a precondition.

The workout, which was to be held at the Atlanta Falcons’ practice facility in Flowery Branch, Ga., at 3 p.m. Eastern time, was moved back by one hour, shifted to a local high school and made open to the news media to watch and film. Kaepernick arrived at the new location, Charles R. Drew High School in Riverdale, Ga., around 4:10 p.m. with multiple vans that drove onto the field of the outdoor stadium. The high school, just outside Atlanta, is about 60 miles southwest of the Falcons’ facility.

Kaepernick, 32, is a former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who has not played since the 2016 season, which is when he began kneeling during the national anthem to protest social injustice and police violence against people of color. He filed a grievance accusing the league’s owners of conspiring to keep him out of the N.F.L. because of his political activism. He and his former teammate Eric Reid reached a multimillion dollar settlement with the league in February.

This season, the league has established a business relationship with the rapper Jay-Z to address social justice issues. Saturday’s workout was an extension of that, as Commissioner Roger Goodell and Jay-Z wanted Kaepernick to have a chance to try out for teams, according to several people familiar with their conversations who were not permitted to speak publicly for the two men.

Earlier on Saturday, there were protesters on both sides of the main entrance to the Falcons’ practice facility:

On one side, Jim McIntyre stood with a wooden sign that said “Stand Up For the Flag” that he and his wife made the night before. McIntyre, who lives in town, said he supported Kaepernick’s right to free speech, but that he believed his form of protest was disrespectful to the flag, despite Kaepernick’s assertions to the contrary.

McIntyre said he stopped watching N.F.L. games when Kaepernick and other players began kneeling because it made him uncomfortable. “I really wish the N.F.L. would have a policy to make players stand for the anthem,” he said.

On the other side of the entrance, Scott Brooks sat in a lawn chair holding a handwritten sign that read “I’m With Kap.” Brooks drove two hours from Tennessee to show his support for Kaepernick. Wearing Kaepernick’s red 49ers jersey, he said that he agreed with the quarterback’s goal of raising awareness of police brutality against African-Americans.

“I hate to see it overshadowed” by the controversy over his decision to kneel, Brooks said. “He lost his job for not even committing a crime.”



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