Colin Kaepernick, who final performed skilled soccer in 2016 — the 12 months he began kneeling in the course of the nationwide anthem to protest racial injustice — labored out Wednesday for the Las Vegas Raiders, a league supply instructed ESPN.
It marked Kaepernick’s first exercise with an NFL staff since being exiled, and it was the primary time the previous star quarterback visited with a staff since he flew to Seattle to satisfy with the Seahawks in Might 2017, earlier than they handed on the chance to signal him.
Kaepernick performed on the College of Nevada, Reno, the one college to supply him a scholarship. At present, the professional staff in Nevada is the one one within the NFL that has given the civil rights activist one other alternative.
Raiders proprietor Mark Davis is following within the spirit of his late father, Al Davis, who supplied many alternatives, reminiscent of hiring the NFL’s first Black head coach (Artwork Shell) and its first girl chief government (Amy Trask) within the trendy period. The elder Davis additionally was the primary staff proprietor to draft a Black quarterback (Eldridge Dickey) within the first spherical and the second staff proprietor to rent a Hispanic head coach, Tom Flores.
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The NFL had mentioned it inspired groups to try Kaepernick. However not solely has Kaepernick not signed a contract with any staff, he additionally hasn’t acquired a exercise till the one he had Wednesday.
Mark Davis instructed ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez in June 2020 that he would give his “blessing” if the Raiders’ entrance workplace or coaches wished so as to add Kaepernick.
Derek Carr is the beginning quarterback for the Raiders, who additionally traded for backup Jarrett Stidham earlier this month in a take care of the New England Patriots. Las Vegas additionally has quarterback Nick Mullens, who signed with the Raiders this offseason.
Kaepernick, 34, not too long ago threw to undrafted receivers for NFL scouts at halftime of Michigan’s spring recreation, on the invitation of Jim Harbaugh, his former coach with the San Francisco 49ers.
One other potential hyperlink to Kaepernick is Raiders offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi, who was a 49ers assistant from 2013 to 2016.
In an interview with the “I Am Athlete” podcast in April, Kaepernick famous that each of his former Niners coaches, Harbaugh and Chip Kelly, mentioned he “made the locker room higher,” contrasting a story that he could be a distraction for any staff that indicators him.
“That 2016 season, my final 12 months, my teammates voted me most brave and inspirational participant,” Kaepernick mentioned. “So, if you’re speaking in regards to the individuals which are within the constructing, that has by no means come out that I’ve been a distraction. That’s by no means come out that I’ve been a problem for the individuals I’ve performed with.”
Kaepernick additionally mentioned within the interview that right now’s NFL needs to be extra “in alignment” together with his social views, given the league’s stance on different issues pertaining to race relations in the US.
“You will have ‘Finish Racism’ at the back of your finish zone. You will have ‘Black Lives Matter’ in your helmet. Every part I’ve mentioned needs to be in alignment with what you’re saying publicly,” he mentioned. “It’s a $16 billion enterprise. Once I first took a knee, my jersey went to No. 1. Once I did the take care of Nike, their worth elevated by $6 billion. Six billion. With a B.
“So should you’re speaking in regards to the enterprise aspect, it reveals [it’s] helpful. When you’re speaking in regards to the taking part in aspect, are available in, let me compete. You may consider me from there. The NFL’s presupposed to be a meritocracy. Are available, let me compete. If I’m not adequate, do away with me. However let me are available in and present you.”
Kaepernick mentioned he finally needs to win a championship after coming shut with the 49ers in Tremendous Bowl XLVII, throughout which San Francisco fell one play quick in a 34-31 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in February 2013.
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