On October 25, ESPN reported Colin Kaepernick was expected to be invited to a forthcoming meeting between NFL owners and players scheduled for November 3. The meeting was spearheaded by Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins as part of the NFL Players Coalition’s ongoing dialogue with league owners centered on players protesting racial inequalities during the singing of the national anthem. A Slate report filed Sunday cites league emails as well as emails from Kaepernick’s attorney denying any invitation has been extended to Kaerpernick.
The chances of a potential meeting between Kaepernick and a group of NFL owners seemed slim, given that Kaep filed a collusion grievance against NFL owners for reportedly blackballing him for his political beliefs and forms of protests.
It's unclear if this is merely a matter of semantics, as Jenkins previously told TMZ that Kaepernick was invited, while Kaepernick's attorneys are maintaining that no formal invite was ever sent. You can see Jenkins remarks about Kaep being invited in the video above at the 1:46 mark.
As Kaepernick remains unsigned in favor of less accomplished quarterbacks, the perception that owners conspired to keep him out of the league has only grown in some circles. Meanwhile, an email obtained by Slate states Kaepernick’s attorney group has confirmed he “is open to participating in, and discussing the ideas he has led, at the next meeting in a meaningful way.”
The proposed meeting comes as players and ownership remain divided on the protests initiated by Kaepernick last season in response to multiple incidents of unarmed black citizens being killed by police during routine stops. The situation has been further inflamed as several NFL owners co-opted Kaepernick’s kneeling protest to use as a response to President Donald Trump saying owners should fire players engaging in such protests.
With Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones threatening to bench any player he felt disrespected the flag, things intensified. A subsequent revelation that Houston Texans owner Bob McNair referred to players as “inmates” further angered other players.
Whether or not Kaepernick attends Tuesday’s meeting, there appears to be a clear rift between owners unhappy with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of the protests. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter report Jones is spearheading a group of 17 owners intent on halting Goodell’s contract extension. Given how Goodell has botched the Ray Rice domestic violence incident, brokering peace between players and ownership over peaceful protests and “Deflategate,” Jones' actions aren’t particularly surprising.
Depending on how the next round of meetings plays out, there is a potential scenario where both Goodell and Kaepernick would both be out of the league within two years of the protests Kaep initiated last season.
You can read Stahl’s full report via Slate.
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