ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith called out former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick for changing his tune and now saying that he is willing to play backup quarterback, with a few conditions, to get back in the NFL.
Smith said: “I want to make sure I’m very, very clear about this because this has gotten on my last nerve, and I’m going to put this to bed once and for all. Colin Kaepernick was black-balled. Colin Kaepernick was mistreated. Colin Kaepernick should be in the NFL. Colin Kaepernick should have never been out of the NFL. He violated no laws. He violated no NFL bylaws. He got screwed over. Period.
“How many times do we need to say that before Colin Kaepernick is willing to accept the fact you’ve got to handle things differently, and what do I mean by that? I’m not talking about the kneeling. I’m not talking about the protesting because that’s on behalf of us.
“And there’s a level of graciousness and gratitude we all owe him. Black people, as far as I’m concerned, America, owes this to Colin Kaepernick. But that was from 2016 to 2019.
“In 2019, after you filed a lawsuit against the National Football League, after you reached a multimillion-dollar settlement, after you made it clear you don’t have any trust for them, and they made it clear they have no trust for you, because of pressure from Jay-Z, who is obviously advising the NFL on social justice issues and things of that nature, along with a multitude of people inside and outside of the media and you’re listening to one of them because I spoke to many people on behalf of Colin Kaepernick, the NFL said we’re going to conduct a workout.
“And Colin Kaepernick refused to work out because of some waiver issue, some liability issue.”
“At the end of the day, what are you saying, Colin Kaepernick? You didn’t trust them?
“Well, duh. We know you didn’t trust them.
“They didn’t trust you because they felt like if an individual team, none of whom called you, by the way, if an individual team gave you a workout that you would sit up there if you don’t make the team, they were saying you might sit up there and accuse us of being racist because they didn’t pick you on the team, so as a result, we can’t trust you either.
“Both sides don’t trust one another. Who the hell doesn’t know that?”
“And still, you took the position, regardless of Jay-Z’s help, regardless of the media’s help, regardless of public fury against the National Football League knowing everybody was going to be all over them, watching them like a fine-tooth comb, you still didn’t trust anybody.
“You want to listen to your lady and your Colin Kaepernick crew and you wanted to debunk everybody else, and here you are having a conversation about football.
“My brother, you ain’t played in five years. We don’t know what you can do but we still believe in you.
“I believe Colin Kaepernick could be on an NFL team right now and help a team despite being gone for five years because I think he’s that gifted. That ain’t the point!
“The point is coaches, players and executives all answer to owners of those respective football teams and they don’t want to touch you.
“And you knew that and the one in, you refused to exploit. I understand your point about not trusting them, hell we don’t trust them.
“But we were willing to fight for you, you didn’t want to listen to anybody. And now the NFL is saying, ratings are up 10% from the year before. Super Bowl ratings were up 6%.
“We got some of the best numbers since 2015, that’s without Colin Kaepernick. Why would we invite this trouble?
“Who didn’t know they were gonna do that? Who didn’t warn Colin Kaepernick they weren’t gonna do that?
“That’s why we told you. Go work out.
“Show what you can do and let the momentum build to force their hand.
“But you didn’t wanna play. You didn’t wanna talk. And that’s why you’re still doing interviews instead of throwing touchdowns,” he said.
Colin Kaepernick said in an interview with Adam “Pacman” Jones and Brandon Marshall for an episode of “I Am Athlete ” and said he would consider playing as a backup quarterback to get back into the NFL.
“I know I have to find my way back in. So, if I have to come in as a backup, that’s fine,” Kaepernick said.
“But that’s not where I’m staying.
“And when I prove that I’m a starter, I want to be able to step on the field as such.
“I just need that opportunity to walk through the door,” he said.