Kaepernick hosts open tryout for NFL

Workout re-located after NFL-organized workout negotiations fell through

By Hunter Ellis | Staff Writer

Former San Fransico 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick hosted a private workout in front of seven NFL teams on Saturday. The relocation came after a fallout with NFL officials over terms of league-sanctioned workout.

On Saturday, Colin Kaepernick hosted a private workout in front of NFL teams in Riverdale, Georgia. The workout was held despite disputes among league representatives about its terms.

Kaepernick made national headlines in 2016 for a series of protests against race-based police brutality, wherein he decided not to stand for the national anthem played at NFL games. The issue of protesting the anthem has been a source of national discussion and division, including on campus.

“I think Kaepernick is un-American and doesn’t understand the meaning of our national anthem,” first-year criminal justice major Joe Cannata said. “He should realize the sacrifices people make to defend this nation and the freedoms we have.”

“I admire Kaepernick, and I admire him using the platform he has to stand up for what he believes in, regardless of the personal, financial and professional setbacks it has caused him,” senior Philosophy, Politics and the Public and economics double major Sam Peters said. “I think that more people should use the pulpit they are given to stand up to fight (for) issues in our country.”

Heading into the 2017 season, Kaepernick chose to opt out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers after an inconsistent tenure. He led the team to a Super Bowl in 2013 but was eventually benched multiple times in favor of backup Blaine Gabbert.

Kaepernick has been without a team since leaving the 49ers. He has publicly called out the league for blacklisting him and filed a collusion grievance against the NFL in 2017. That grievance was settled out of court this year.

Last week, the NFL suddenly announced that it would host a workout at the Atlanta Falcons’ practice facility for Kaepernick. The NFL stated that any team was welcome to attend.

A published schedule for the event included an interview session with the teams, pre-workout measurements and quarterback drills led by former NFL head coach Hue Jackson.

Although 17 teams committed to attend, at least 24 were expected at the league-sponsored workout.

Kaepernick’s plans changed 30 minutes before the workout was scheduled to start. He said he had issues with how the league organized it, citing a waiver he was asked to sign and the fact that media were not allowed to attend.

The NFL maintains that the waiver was the standard for a free-agent workout.

Kaepernick instead hosted his own workout about 30 minutes from the original location, in which media cameras and fans were allowed to be present.

Because of the quick change of plans, however, only seven teams were confirmed to have attended.

Kaepernick had previously discussed an opportunity to play in the Alliance of American Football (AAF). The Athletic reported the initiated talks with CEO Charlie Ebersole.

The AAF folded in April after filing for bankruptcy.

Kaepernick has yet to receive any contract offers. In a speech following the workout, Kaepernick urged the scouts present to “go back (and) tell your owners not to be scared”

There are no deadlines for teams to sign unrestricted free agents.

“It’s been three years since he has played in the NFL, I don’t think he will get an offer,” first-year biology major Jacob Lyons said. “I think he should try for the XFL if he wants to play.”