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Kaepernick on the field before his workout at Charles Drew HS.

A few months after rapper Jay-Z’s deal with the NFL, the league announced an open tryout for quarterback Colin Kaepernick, a former Super Bowl-appearing QB that is perhaps best known for his protest of police brutality and the country’s treatment of military personnel post-service. His mode of protest,taking a knee during the national anthem, was highly controversial around the nation Some believe it was a respectful way to protest the United States and its issues, while others felt it was disrespectful to the country and the flag. After his contract with the 49ers ended, Kaepernick became a free agent that was available for any team to sign. As of November 25, 2019, no team wanted the signal-caller, despite his postseason success and throwing 16 TDs to just 4 INTs in his last year in the league.

After rapper Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter’s deal with the NFL became finalized, the possibility of Kaepernick finding an NFL job became much more realistic due to the league become partners with one of his largest supporters, which, in turn, made him one of the league’s toughest critics. Nothing materialized for the first couple of months. However, on November 11, 2019, the NFL announced a workout for the now 32-year-old QB, where he would have a combine style workout for 25 of 32 NFL teams at the Atlanta Falcons facility in Flowery Branch, GA. The tape from the workout was promised to be sent to the front offices of all 32 teams, who would be able to adequately judge Kaepernick’s readiness to be an NFL QB again.

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Kaepernick throws a pass during his workout at Charles Drew HS.

By some, it seemed like an honest attempt by the league to right the wrong of a highly qualified player being left out in some part due to his social activism. After all, it would be the first time the NFL arranged a private workout for a single player during the season. A main reason for skepticism was due to the timing of the workout. It was to take place on a Saturday, a day many scouts are at college football games. The end of the season, when many teams already have their rosters set and aren’t keen on signing a player during that time. Kaepernick and his camp were only given 48 days to decide whether or not they were going to do the workout, which many legal analysts felt was too soon to look over the documents. The day came, and everything seemed to be moving according to plan.

However, on Saturday, November 16, reports began to circulate that Kaepernick wouldn’t workout at the Falcons’ facility due to receiving a questionable liability waiver from the league office. His lawyer said it would be “malpractice” to allow his client to sign it. Despite the NFL attempting to assure the public that Kaepernick was given the standard liability waiver any free agent who works out receives, his legal team stated otherwise. Kaepernick moved his workout to Charles Drew High School in Riverdale, GA, about an hour away from the original location. Only 8 of the 25 teams slated to watch him were able to make the trip to the new location. This situation turned off many teams from signing him, viewing him as “a distraction that isn’t worth the headache,” At the conclusion of his workout, he told the league to “stop running from the truth and the people,” telling the reporters in attendance that he was ready to go, citing the need for transparency as the main reason he moved the workout. After this incident, it remains to be seen if any team will take a chance on the former NFC champion quarterback.

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