What Exactly Happened at the Colin Kaepernick Workout?

John Healy
November 17, 2019 - 9:40 am

Colin Kaepernick finally got a chance to show off his skills in front of NFL team scouts and executives on Saturday, but things did not go as planned.

The 32-year-old quarterback continued to clash with the league and the result was a chaotic day that ended with a public workout in front of scouts, media and even fans.

Here is a look at how things transpired in a hectic afternoon in Georiga:

Location Change

In a strange turn of events, Kaepernick and his team decided to change the location of the workout at the very last minute, pushing the schedule back an hour. Kaepernick was originally slated to throw in front of NFL personnel at the Atlanta Falcons facility, but a disagreement stemming from a liability waiver and media access, among other things, led to a venue switch at Charles R. Drew High School — about 60 miles away from the original site — which the NFL said it was not informed of until 30 minutes before the originally scheduled workout.

By changing the location, the event was no longer an NFL-sanctioned workout. Per Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, the NF’’s liability waiver was designed to avoid a potential second lawsuit from Kaepernick if he were not to be signed by a team. His agent Jeff Nalley and attorney Ben Meiselas also released a statement:

"From the outset, Mr. Kaepernick requested a legitimate process and from the outset the NFL league office has not provided one," Meiselas and Nalley said.
"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.”

NFL Statement

The NFL quickly fired back with a statement of its own, outlining several points on how they accommodated Kaepernick, including that waiver was standard procedure and is used at the NFL Combine and all free agent player workouts. They noted that 25 of the 32 teams were present for the NFL-sanctioned workout and that video would be made available to all teams.

Former NFL coach Hue Jackson was going to lead the workout, and he had met with Kaepernick’s agents on which drills would be run and the league agreed to let Kaepernick use his own receivers.

The statement also added that Kaepernick’s decision would have no effect on his status, and that he is eligible to sign with any team at any point.

The Workout

Finally, the attention shifted to the field. Kaepernick arrived in a T-shirt which read “Kunta Kinte,” a slave character from the novel “Roots.” He ditched the shirt for a tank top and proceeded to show off his arm strength and abilities in a 40-minute workout that consisted of 60 passes. Only eight of the 25 teams — Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets, Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs, Detroit Lions and Tennessee Titans — that planned to attend the workout followed through after the location change. There was a significant media presence and even fans began to show up along the chain-linked fence to watch. The workout was live-streamed on Youtube and highlights of Kaepernick were tweeted:

The Aftermath

The reaction afterward seemed to be mostly positive. Per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, a scout said Kaepernick showed “elite arm strength and ability to throw the deep ball.”

Kaepernick signed autographs for fans and then addressed the media, specifically calling out NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

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