Colin Kaepernick may have ruined Saturday whatever chance he had of rejoining the NFL.
The controversial former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, known for kneeling in protest during the national anthem, scrapped a previously scheduled workout that had been coordinated with the league. Instead, shortly before the session was scheduled to start Saturday, Kaepernick informed the NFL he was holding his own workout at a high school over an hour away from the previously agreed upon site.
"We are disappointed that Colin did not appear for his workout," said a statement by the league. All 32 teams had been invited to attend Kaepernick's Pro Day-type workout at the Atlanta Falcons' training facility and representatives from 25 of them were planning to attend.
The NFL had also agreed to record the session and distribute the footage to head coaches and front office staff from all 32 clubs. Hue Jackson, former coach of the Oakland Raiders and Cleveland Browns, was scheduled to run the workout.
Kaepernick wanted his own team to film the workout
According to USA Today, several factors drove Kaepernick's decision to cancel the training 30 minutes before it was scheduled to begin:
But from the start, there were concerns about the organization of the event. Neither Kaepernick nor the teams knew it was in the works, only learning about it Tuesday. Kaepernick reportedly did not know who he would be throwing to, and the NFL did not provide a list of personnel who would be attending the workout as he'd asked.
The larger sticking point, though, appeared to be over access. Kaepernick wanted the workout open to the media and for his team to be able to film it. The NFL refused, saying it would be filmed by Atlanta Falcons personnel and the video distributed to all 32 teams.
The NFL says it first heard of Kaepernick's insistence on bringing his own video crew on Friday night. This was around the same time the league says it was contacted by Nike, with the quarterback's approval, with a request to shoot an ad featuring Kaepernick and mentioning all the NFL teams that were present at the workout.
In its statement, the NFL also noted it agreed to Nike's request to film the workout. However, Kaepernick also wanted the event open to the media, which the league was not willing to do.
"[W]e have been clear from the beginning that this is private workout," the league said.
"He's more concerned with theatrics than football"
Among those who took issue with Kaepernick's decision to cancel his NFL workout is rapper Jay-Z, who had reportedly pressured the league to host the workout. According to XXL, the entrepreneur and rapper believes the quarterback turned a "legitimate workout" into a publicity stunt.
Sportswriters also blasted the controversial quarterback. USA Today football columnist Mike Jones argued, "Kaepernick's power move further fueled the school of thought that he's more concerned with theatrics than football."
"If Kaepernick truly wanted to showcase his skills to as many talent evaluators as possible, then his actions definitely didn't indicate so," added Jones.