Whatever sympathy one might have for embattled former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, his latest move may see some of his defenders quieting.
As the 29-year-old athlete takes his protest to the courtroom with a lawsuit against team owners alleging collusion to keep him unemployed, The Washington Post is reporting that some of Kaepernick’s former colleagues — actual NFL players — invited him to attend a meeting Tuesday with those same owners at a four-hour event to discuss the anthem protests that began in 2015 when Kaepernick first took a knee.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was asked by fellow players to attend Tuesday’s meeting with NFL owners about issues related to players’ protests during the national anthem, according to one player and Kaepernick’s legal representatives.
Kaepernick was not on hand as players met with owners for approximately four hours at the league’s offices, however. Afterward, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins was asked about Kaepernick not being invited.
“He was invited, actually,” Jenkins said. “He was invited.”
Asked why Kaepernick did not attend, Jenkins said: “I don’t know. I can’t answer that question.”
The excuse from Kapernick’s lawyers is that their client wasn’t extended an official invitation by the league or any team representative, although they acknowledged the invitation by players and wrote that their client plans on attending the next meeting.
The introduction of the lawsuit against team owners in which Kaepernick accuses them of collaborating to keep him unsigned this season has some former greats still involved with the game publicly criticizing the former QB.
“Oh, Jesus. This guy’s like a tooth ache that just won’t go away,” former Bengals and Jets quarterback Boomer Esiason said on CBS Radio on Monday. “… He’s not going to play for me and my West Coast offense, which is what they run up there [in Green Bay, where it was rumored Kaepernick could be asked to fill in for the injured Aaron Rodgers]. … There is no way in the world that Colin Kaepernick could go in there tomorrow, learn that offense and go out on the field and play next week. I don’t know what people are thinking about. I don’t know why they don’t understand that the NFL and offenses in the NFL are extremely difficult to pick up.”
Kaepernick has been working out and pleading, through handpicked media voices, for a team to sign him. Yet, Esiason claimed that a player who was branded last year as a loudmouth is now too quiet.
“The other aspect of all of this with Colin Kaepernick is, how much does he want it?” Esiason said. “And how much more is he going to let somebody else talk for him? When is he going to open his own mouth and say, ‘Yeah, you know, I want to play and this is how much I want.’”
There are varying opinions about the protest, on everything from the free speech issue to the issue of minority oppression and everything in between. Many fans initially responded to the protests by burning jerseys and tickets, while attendance at NFL games fell. Dismissing an invitation from players who risked their own jobs to show solidarity by taking a knee next to him is not likely to help Kaepernick’s cause.