Image Credit: Getty Images
ATLANTA – It’s always about location.
On Saturday, Colin Kaepernick will work out for the league that has blackballed him for the last three years, in the one city that has constantly been in the background throughout all of this.
On Tuesday, it was announced that a private workout would be held for Kaepernick on Saturday at the Atlanta Falcons’ facility. The session is scheduled to include interviews and on-field work, as every team has been invited to attend.
I’m just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday. I’ve been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can’t wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday, tweeted Kaepernick.
Relationship Between Kap And “The A”
Some of you are wondering why Atlanta plays such an important role in this, given that Kaepernick has never suited up for the Falcons. But I’m here to remind you all how “The A” has been the host city to some of the most controversial decisions and moments pertaining to Kaepernick over the past few years.
During the Spring of 2018, the NFL had their owners meeting in Atlanta, and it was one that many will never forget. David Tepper was announced as the new owner of the Carolina Panthers during those meetings, but he would wind up being a footnote due to a decision that would soon be made public.
Approximately 24 hours later, Roger Goodell announced the league’s anthem policy, which was a direct response to Kaepernick’s silent protest that was started in 2016. According to the policy, players would have the option of staying in the locker room for the anthem, or teams would be fined if their players choose to take a knee or raise fists in a peaceful protest against police brutality and racism.
All hell broke loose and within weeks the policy was no more.
During the Winter of 2019, the NFL held the Super Bowl in Atlanta, and with that came Goodell’s annual “State of the League Address” followed by a press conference.
With Kaepernick still out the league and music artists openly boycotting the Super Bowl’s halftime show because of it, the commissioner of the NFL actually had the audacity to begin his address by focusing on how the Super Bowl was taking place in a city of “milestones and progress” like Atlanta, “a pillar of the Civil Rights Movement,” and how he was “proud to devote much of this league to honoring that legacy.”
Cardi B, Adele, Rihanna, Pink, and Jay-Z all reportedly declined to perform at this year's Super Bowl.
— UberFacts (@UberFacts) February 6, 2019
It was a slap in the face to the city, the home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“We have close to 200 million fans. We know that there are segments that are going to have different reactions about things that are going on in our league. But ultimately, I think people respect and admire the things we do,” Goodell said when asked if he could acknowledge that there is a segment of people and artists that are refusing to be associated with the league.
And when Goodell was asked if he was OK with how history was going to remember the Kaepernick era, he served us another hollow answer.
“I’ve said it many times privately and publicly, our clubs are the ones that make decisions about players that they want to have on their rosters,” he explained.
“I think if a team decides that if Colin Kaepernick or any other player can help that team win, that’s what they’ll do.”
Black Quarterback Coaching Summit
In June of 2019, the NFL and the Black College Football Hall of Fame held their inaugural quarterback coaching summit in Atlanta. The two-day summit was created to get more minority coaches noticed, as last season proved that NFL teams are looking to hire offensive coordinators and quarterback coaches to lead their franchises.
However, the one quarterback, who happens to be black, that was on everybody’s mind was not there.
Kaepernick was nowhere to be found, and it is unclear if he was even notified about it, as the focus was on general managers, former NFL coaches, and current college coaches and coordinators.
And on a lighter note, back in March, Atlanta became the last place in which anybody has seen Kaepernick actually play football. He showed up to Quavo’s “Huncho Day” charity flag football game and threw a touchdown to New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley.
Golden Nuggets: Colin Kaepernick throws a TD to Saquon Barkley over the weekend in a flag football game. https://t.co/IfU74XQhh1
— Niners Nation (@NinersNation) April 2, 2019
From executive decisions made by owners to failed press conferences by the commissioner to showing fans he can still throw a football, Atlanta has been the backdrop for Kaepernick and everything that has surrounded him lately.
Some are looking at Saturday as a real opportunity for him, as a way to dispel any myths about his commitment to his craft, while also proving some of his harshest critics wrong.
Others think it all could be a public relations stunt by the league. I’m closer to agreeing with that crowd, especially since media members aren’t allowed to attend, making it so that the only way we will ever know how Kaepernick performed is if the workout footage leaks.
Because there will never be a day in which I will take the NFL or a team representative’s word at face value when it comes to anything that has to do with Colin Kaepernick.
Was it Jay-Z's influence or the NFL trying to distance itself from blackballing accusations that got Colin Kaepernick a workout? Or is it a setup? https://t.co/6IsvuO85Dc
— Secret Sauce (@FANalyst1) November 13, 2019
But no matter what happens on Saturday or the final outcome, I just find it interesting that the NFL picked Atlanta of all places, the one city that has repeatedly been the home of the league’s ineptitude and carelessness concerning this entire saga.
And what’s most telling, is that the league probably has no idea that all of this has occurred over the years in the same city.
Which, in the end, is par for the course for them.