Opinion: Kaepernick workout offers chance to right a wrong

The NFL has decided to hold a workout for Colin Kaepernick on Saturday in Atlanta.

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The NFL has decided to hold a workout for Colin Kaepernick on Saturday in Atlanta.

By Jaiman White, Baldwin High School

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Protest is not a crime, and in America it is a protected right listed in the Constitution. With that being said, the NFL has treated Colin Kaepernick as a criminal since he decided to kneel during the national anthem in 2016, protesting police brutality. 

Now completely out of the blue, the NFL has decided to hold a workout for Kaepernick on Saturday in Atlanta. Unfortunately the league’s motives seem unclear.

Following a confidential settlement reached after Kaepernick had filed a grievance against the league, it seemed like the NFL and the once-dynamic quarterback were done with each other. Many now think this decision to give Kaepernick a workout for teams is merely a public relations stunt.

Considering he hasn’t played football for three years, it’d be shocking that Kap would be on any team’s radar. Is this an attempt to prove that he is not being blackballed? Is this an issue the NFL wants to sweep under the rug once again? With the sudden interest in Kaepernick, this reality unfortunately makes the most sense.

The NFL has maintained a reputation as the best professional sports league in the United States, and in its 100th season, this could just be a way for the league to try to further improve that reputation. All of this sudden interest in Kaepernick seems too good to be true. 

Everyone deserves a second chance, especially those who didn’t do anything wrong in the first place. ”

But what if the league is finally ready to give Kap a second chance?

The league has invited all teams and personnel to a workout on Saturday in Atlanta, including on-field work and an interview. So far the Cowboys, Redskins, Lions, Dolphins, and Falcons have revealed that they will have representatives attending the workout. Kaepernick’s camp has said that the quarterback has been working out five days a week, for three years, just awaiting this kind of opportunity.

This season there have been many injuries to starting quarterbacks. Players like Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, and Nick Foles, among others, have been hit by the injury bug. Several teams are on the edge of the playoffs and could use a new starting quarterback, and Kaepernick could be the answer.

The Chicago Bears, for instance, have a championship-caliber defense, but starter Mitchell Trubisky has been disappointing. If the Bears were to sign Kap, they could reignite the offense and realize a Super Bowl berth sooner than later. 

The Pittsburgh Steelers are struggling to move the ball with their quarterback situation. Considering that the organization has been a leader in giving minorities their fair chance in the league, it’d make a lot of sense to get Kap and continue winning with a proven player.

NFL teams need to remember that protest is not a crime. Domestic abuse, however, is a crime, and running dog fights is a crime, and possession of marijuana is a crime in most states — yet the NFL has forgiven offenders guilty of these crimes, and given those players second chances. 

Everyone deserves a second chance, especially those who didn’t do anything wrong in the first place. 

The workouts in Atlanta could be a way for Kaepernick to get back into the league. But if this is nothing more than a PR stunt for the NFL, that should be considered just as terrible as refusing to sign Kaepernick for exercising his constitutional rights.

This story was originally published on Purbalite on November 14, 2019.