WATCH: Stephen A. Smith Says He and Jay-Z Worked to Get Kaepernick an NFL Workout

Getty Images/Carmen Mandato

On Thursday, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith claimed that he and Jay-Z worked to convince the NFL to give Colin Kaepernick a workout last month.

A snippet of a video interview with Smith appeared on Wednesday evening, in which Smith claimed that he was advising Roc Nation to go ahead with its plans to urge the National Football League to give former San Francisco 49ers and national anthem protester Colin Kaepernick another shot at continuing his NFL career.

In the video, Smith notes that he had no issue with Kaepernick’s protests, but only came to doubt the player’s sincerity when he began acting out after he started his protests.

“Where I took issue,” Smith says addressing Kaepernick in the Showtime interview, “was your execution after you took a knee. Because now it’s about where you going from here.”

But then Smith insists he was part of the behind-the-scenes conversation about what the NFL should do with Kaepernick.

“So, who’s behind the scenes?” Smith asks. “It wasn’t just Jay-Z and a host of other people. It was also me!

“I happen to know that Jay-Z and Roc Nation was leading the call behind the scenes, working with the NFL,” Smith continued.

“The owners didn’t — half the owners didn’t want to do it. They literally said, ‘fuck them,'” Smith continued. “And I was told Jay-Z was like, ‘Oh, hell no, yes you do. We ain’t going out like that.’

“That’s why I was going off. And I’m explaining all of this, and all anybody sees is I don’t agree with Kaep,” he concluded.

In the snippet of the interview, Smith did not seem to fully explain what he thinks his behind the scenes involvement in the disastrous workout actually was.

But, whoever arranged the opportunity, Kaepernick turned it into another protest stunt when, at the last second, he pulled out of the NFL’s organized workout that was to be held at the Atlanta Falcon’s practice facility and held his own at a local high school instead.

Not only did Kaepernick turn his back on the NFL’s workout session, he wore a “Kunta Kinte,” t-shirt, the lead slave character in the epic book Roots.

Despite the workout stunt, no team has seemed all that interested in giving Kaepernick a shot at continuing his NFL career.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.