Just when it looked like things were going well for Colin Kaepernick, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter said that the free-agent quarterback turned his workout into a publicity stunt, according to Sports Illustrated.
After claiming he “took a reputational bullet” when he partnered with the NFL to help with its social justice initiative, rapper Jay-Z pressured the NFL into putting together a special workout for Kaepernick. The private workout was held on Saturday in Atlanta. Kaepernick’s workout would have included on-field work and an interview. Video of the workout and interview was going to be made available to all 32 teams, as well.
Instead, Kaepernick’s reps released a statement prior to the scheduled workout insisting that Kaepernick took issue with “an unusual liability waiver that addresses employment-related issues” requested by the NFL. Kaepernick also wanted the media to be able to see the entire workout, as well as giving Nike access to the workout to film.
He eventually changed locations to hold his own workout, opting to hold the session at a high school 60 miles away at Charles R. Drew High School in Riverdale, Georgia. Out of the 25 teams that had been scheduled to watch Kaepernick’s workout, only eight showed up since Kaepernick decided to switch venues from the original Atlanta Falcons’ facility in Flowery Branch.
“Our biggest thing with everything today was making sure we had transparency with what went on. We weren’t getting that elsewhere so we came out here,” Kaepernick told the media. “We appreciate what y’all do. We appreciate y’all being here today. We appreciate the work y’all do for the people and telling the truth.”
“I have no reason to believe that Kaepernick’s attorneys did not have valid concerns. The reality is Kaepernick is most likely too polarizing of a figure on the national stage to ever return to the NFL, and Kaepernick and his advisors know that. While Nike took a bet on him, most teams most likely find him too risky” said Jordan Cohen, Chief Marketing Officer of North 6th Agency.
“From a PR perspective, however, Kaepernick is in the driver’s seat. He has emerged as one of the most important and vocal civil rights activists of our generation, and whether his workout yesterday was an orchestrated publicity stunt or not, his fans and a large swath of the general public are still behind him, and meanwhile, the NFL remains in a prolonged and precarious lose-lose situation. Kaepernick may never return to the playing field, but his star power will only continue to grow.”
Also expressing disappointment and claiming Kaepernick doesn’t really want to play was ESPN SportsCenter analyst Stephen A. Smith. “This man wanted a chance. Twenty-five teams show up in Georgia at the Atlanta Falcons practice facility—state of the art facility, NFL personnel, equipment, video, everything, and what does Colin Kaepernick do? Because of some issue with a liability waiver, Colin Kaepernick wants to change the venue,” Smith said. “You don’t want to work. You just want to make noise and you want to control the narrative.”
Smith took to Twitter to deliver his thoughts on the situation.