The reality of Kaepernick returning to the NFL after a more than five-year absence seems farfetched. And while Stephen A. Smith believes Kaepernick was wrongly banished from the league, he also believes the quarterback deserves some blame for the lengthy absence.
“What we have to do is look at Kaepernick and throw some culpability in his direction,” Smith said Tuesday on First Take. “The culpability is on his shoulders.”
Stephen A. Smith believes Colin Kaepernick deserves some culpability for his NFL exile pic.twitter.com/dooRkARblX
— Brandon Contes (@BrandonContes) March 15, 2022
Kaepernick has not received a serious contract offer since taking a knee for social justice during the national anthem in 2016. But in 2019, the NFL set up a workout for Kaepernick and invited every team to attend.
The workout was scheduled to take place at the Atlanta Falcons’ training facility. After the NFL denied Kaepernick’s request to let media attend, he moved the location to a nearby high school, which Smith believes greatly hurt the quarterback’s chances of landing a contract offer.
“What happened with Kaepernick is, ‘it’s my way, this is what I want, this is what I believe and I’m not maneuvering my way around this in any way. By the way, I want to be a part of your product.’ It don’t work that way!” Smith ranted.
“All he had to do was show up,” Smith added of the 2019 NFL workout, citing a source. “I was told the brother would have to throw it in the stands…to not have a job in the NFL within two weeks.”
Smith stated Kaepernick was “blackballed, unfairly” and claimed he agrees with 99 percent of what the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback has said and done, but he disagrees with how that 2019 workout was handled. And because of that disagreement with Kaepernick, Smith expects to receive a lot of criticism.
“But that one percent that we might disagree…in terms of how you elected to handle it, brace yourself,” Smith said referring to himself. “Because you’re about to be called sellout. You’re about to be called coon, you’re about to be called all of it BECAUSE GOD FORBID AS GROWN MEN WE THINK FOR OURSELVES.”
Kaepernick is 34 years old, but considering it’s been more than half a decade since he took an NFL hit, the quarterback presumably has plenty left in the tank. As much as an NFL return seems unlikely for Kaepernick, stranger things have happened. Never forget, Tim Tebow received a training camp invite last year after nearly a decade removed from playing in a regular-season game.