The first time the players invited Colin Kaepernick to attend their meetings with NFL owners, he said no. The second time they asked him, reportedly, Kaepernick said yes.
Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson reports that two sources informed Yahoo, that Kaepernick will attend the meetings next week.
Robinson explains that the first time around, Kaepernick declined to attend because he was unsure of whether the NFL was “open” to him attending the meetings. However, after the statement from NFL Spokesman Joe Lockhart yesterday, in which he said that, in reference to Kaepernick, “We look forward to him joining the conversation.” Apparently that was enough to signal the all clear to Kaepernick.
Robinson wrote about how the NFL arrived at the decision to accept Kaepernick as a part of the process:
Two sources told Yahoo Sports that Kaepernick’s attendance has been pursued by multiple players who believe he is an important voice in their efforts, which have sought to have larger league involvement in a platform promoting racial equality and judicial reform. After sitting and then eventually kneeling during the national anthem during the 2016 season, Kaepernick ignited a spate of game day protests that have continued into this season and become a rising concern for league owners.
That is what ultimately pushed the league to the meeting table with players in recent weeks, sparked largely by rants from President Donald Trump and recent statements from Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones that discipline should be levied against protesting players. The political theater has been particularly troubling for the NFL, reaching new heights of distraction when Vice President Mike Pence staged a walkout at a game between the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers in Week 5 after some players protested during the anthem. That ultimately appeared to have been orchestrated by Trump, who said he asked Pence to walk out in the event that protests occurred during the anthem.
It’s rather rich for Robinson to say the NFL had been “troubled” by political theater. The NFL has been knee-deep in political theater for years. Wading into issues ranging from First Amendment religious freedom issues in Arizona. To threatening to pull the Super Bowl over religious exemption laws in Georgia, and sentencing reform for drug offenders. What’s also absurd is that the NFL would somehow engage in pearl-clutching over “political theater,” when political theater is exactly what they’ve allowed their players to engage in for months with these anthem protests.
Whether one agrees with the protests or not, they are the definition of political theater. So maybe the NFL was more “troubled” by the fact that someone had actually fought back. As opposed to being troubled by the mere involvement in politics, or the theater of politics.
However, there’s no disagreement over what Robinson says next, “It remains to be seen what impact Kaepernick could have with his direct involvement with meetings. But a league source told Yahoo Sports on Wednesday that there is an expectation from the NFL that Kaepernick’s inclusion in talks will draw more attention from Trump. The president has spoken both directly and indirectly about Kaepernick on a number of occasions already, most notably making a thinly veiled reference to him as a kneeling “son of a bitch” in a speech in September.”
No question the league can count on some push-back from President Trump. What a shame that he seems to be the only one willing to do it.