Former 49ers football player Colin Kaepernick had a clear message for NFL teams and owners as he held his first workout in front of NFL scouts Saturday: “Stop running from the truth.”
Kaepernick was the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem during the 2016 season to protest racism and police brutality. He has remained unsigned since that season, but news broke earlier this week that the NFL arranged a Saturday private workout for the former player in front of several teams.
"I've been ready for three years. I've been denied for three years. We all know why I came out here today and showed it today in front of everybody. We have nothing to hide, so we're waiting for the 32 owners, 32 teams, Roger Goodell, all of them to stop running. To stop running from the truth. To stop running from the people. We’re out here. We're ready to play. We're ready to go anywhere,” Kaepernick told reporters at the Saturday workout.
“I’ll interview with any team at any time. I’ve been ready. I’m staying ready, and I’ll continue to be ready,” he continued.
USA Today Sports columnist Dan Wolken shared video of Kaepernick Saturday.
Colin Kaepernick made a 90 second statement before leaving pic.twitter.com/QlH2RTnLp5— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) November 16, 2019
Kaepernick was supposed to work out in front of personnel from 24 NFL teams Saturday at the Atlanta Falcons’ training facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia. But 30 minutes before the event was set to begin, it was moved to Charles Drew High School in Riverdale, over an hour away from the Falcons' facility, Sports Illustrated reported. Only six teams followed to the new location.
Kaepernick’s representative said the workout was moved because the NFL denied media access and his request to have an independent film crew at the workout for “transparency,” Sports illustrated reported. The NFL later released a statement saying that it did not know until Saturday that the former player wanted media to attend.
Kaepernick also thanked press for coming to the workout in his statement to reporters. He said the media has been “under attack” for three years, although he did not specify and person or group.
"I appreciate y’all coming out. That means a lot to me. Our biggest thing with everything today was making sure we had transparency with what went on,” Kaepernick told reporters. “We weren't getting that elsewhere so we came out here. It’s important that y’all are here. Y’all have been attacked for the last three years. Y’all continue to be attacked. We appreciate what y’all do. We appreciate you being here today, and we appreciate the work that you do for the people in telling the truth. That’s what we want with everything"