Colin Kaepernick, the embattled former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, held a workout on Saturday for several NFL teams, but the NFL criticized his choice of venue and last-minute change.
Kaepernick’s representatives said they wanted to move the location of the workout so media outlets could view it. The league said it attempted to accommodate his requests. The change took place at the last minute, CNN reported.
“We are disappointed that Colin did not appear for his workout,” the NFL said in a statement, reported ABC News. “He informed us of that decision at 2:30 p.m. today along with the public.”
The league said it won’t affect his future in the NFL.
“Colin’s decision has no effect on his status in the League. He remains an unrestricted free agent eligible to sign with any club,” the NFL said in a statement.
But it added that 25 teams were present for the originally scheduled workout.
“All 32 clubs, their head coaches, general managers and other personnel executives would have received video footage of the interview and workout, shot by the Atlanta Falcons video crew,” the NFL said in a statement, CNN reported. About six teams attended his workout at the new venue.
Kaepernick moved the new venue to a high school around 60 miles away from the Atlanta Falcons facility, where he was scheduled to originally go. There were some protesters outside the venue, according to Getty Images photos.
After the workout, where Kaepernick threw about passes for about 40 minutes, he said his team wanted “transparency,” adding “we weren’t getting that elsewhere so we came out here.”
“I’ve been ready for three years, I’ve been denied for three years,” he said, reported ESPN. “We all know why I came out here, showed it today in front of everybody. We have nothing to hide. So we’re waiting for the 32 owners, 32 teams, Roger Goodell, all of them stop running. Stop running from the truth. Stop running from the people. We’re out here, we’re ready to play. We’re ready to go anywhere. My agent, Jeff Nalley, is ready to talk to any team. I’ll interview with any team at any time. I’ve been ready.”
He didn’t take any questions from the media.
“We’ll be waiting to hear from Roger Goodell, the NFL, the 32 teams,” Kaepernick added, ABC News reported. “We’ll let you know if we hear from them. Ball is in their court. We’re ready to go.”
Several weeks ago, Kaepernick’s representative blasted the league and all 32 teams.
“Not a single team has brought Colin in for a workout,” his statement read. “Seattle brought Colin in for a visit but did not work him out. … No other NFL team has interviewed or worked out Colin in the past three seasons, despite other false statements to the media to the contrary.” The Seahawks incident took place in April of 2018.
Kaepernick led the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013 after he took over from starter Alex Smith during the previous year.
However, his play declined in the 2015 and 2016 seasons. At the same time, he began kneeling during the playing of the national anthem, drawing criticism and boycott threats from many fans. Kaepernick said it was to protest against racism and police brutality.
In a lengthy writeup in 2017, ESPN noted that Kaepernick had a great deal of success early in his career but later on, his performance suffered.
“Since the start of the 2015 season, Kaepernick ranks last in the NFL among 35 qualified passers in off-target percentage (22.6). His completion percentage ranks No. 32 at 59.1. He still was one of the NFL’s most productive rushing quarterbacks, ranking No. 4 in total yardage over those years, but it didn’t mitigate his passing deterioration,” the 2017 ESPN article said.
In March 2017, he opted out of his contract with the 49ers and has not found work since.
In February, both Kaepernick and Eric Reid, a former teammate who now plays for the Carolina Panthers, reached a settlement in their case against the NFL accusing the league’s 32 teams of colluding to keep them out of the sport. Terms were not disclosed, but some reports have said it was near $10 million.