The prevailing theory for why the NFL invited Colin Kaepernick for a unique workout last week is that the league was trying to mitigate against a second collusion lawsuit from the free agent quarterback. The league springing the offer on Kaepernick only four days ahead of time and giving him just two hours to accept the offer, while not coordinating his team ahead of time, signals that their intentions were less than pure, as discussed in Larry Brown Sports’ lengthy analysis on the topic.
But why now? Why did the league suddenly decide on Tuesday, November 12, that they were going to invite Kaepernick to a workout on Saturday, November 16, after not communicating with the quarterback in months?
The answer seems to stem from a press release issued by Kaepernick’s camp a month earlier.
On Thursday, October 10, Adam Schefter tweeted out a document that came from Kaepernick’s side. The document was titled “Facts to Address the False Narratives Regarding Colin Kaepernick.”
Colin Kaepernick’s representatives released statements today to clear up some facts surrounding their client: pic.twitter.com/Wo86KTkKDM
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 10, 2019
Among other things, the document affirmed that Kaepernick could legally seek employment in the league, still wants to play, hasn’t had any workouts, and said that Kaepernick’s agent had reached out to all 32 teams and received no response.
The release of the document seemed confusing. Why would Kaepernick’s team send it out? What was the purpose for it and the timing behind it? There hadn’t been any published stories about Kaepernick in the media that pushed “false narratives” the document supposedly addressed.
Where was this coming from and why was it out there?
Finally, in light of the workout and talk that Kaepernick could file a second lawsuit against the NFL for collusion, it all clicked: perhaps this statement was distributed in an effort to lay the groundwork for a second lawsuit. Why else would they share that Kaepernick is still ready, still qualified, and still hadn’t heard from any teams despite reaching out to them all? It seems this was done to help establish that the same conditions that led to the first lawsuit were still present.
Also, keep in mind that Pro Football Talk reported Kaepernick’s settlement with the league only covered his lost wages from 2017 and 2018, but not beyond that. Sources with whom Larry Brown Sports spoke also suggested a second employment-related lawsuit against the NFL would be possible.
In response, the NFL probably saw this on October 10 and recognized that Kaepernick’s team was setting the grounds for a second lawsuit. From there, follow the timeline.
They probably got together, thought for a week, and started to devise a plan for how to combat the second suit. That plan (as we came to find out) involved inviting Kaepernick to an NFL-backed workout, where they would ask him to sign a legal waiver that included information about his employment status. Then they probably had lawyers work on drafting the legal waiver for Kaepernick to sign — a report said the league had outside counsel work on the document — and that probably took a few weeks.
Then, about four weeks after Kaepernick’s team released the document, the NFL reportedly began calling select reporters to tell them to be ready for some big news the following Tuesday.
Exactly 33 days after this press release from Kaepernick’s camp was distributed, the NFL responded with its workout offer.
If you believe this was the missing piece and the antecedent to the NFL’s well thought-out workout scheme, then you understand that the league did not merely reach out to Kaepernick’s camp out of the blue, but they were responding to what they believed was a legal threat.
For more analysis of the Colin Kaepernick workout, make sure you read Larry Brown Sports’ complete breakdown.