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Seahawks postpone workout with Colin Kaepernick over his stance on protests

It would have been Kaepernick’s first workout since he became a free agent.

San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Colin Kaepernick hasn’t played in an NFL game since the 2016 season. This week, he was set to work out with the Seattle Seahawks, but it was then “postponed” when he declined to stop kneeling during the national anthem, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

A source familiar with the situation confirmed that and told SB Nation:

Two weeks ago the workout was being arranged. Colin was enthusiastic about it. The trip and the workout was arranged for a significant period of time and on the eve of his travel, Seattle put the situation on hold. Seattle said it wouldn’t be worth his time and shouldn’t bother with the travel and that it’s not worth coming if he continued kneeling or doing on-field activism. He had to agree in advance if he wanted to go. Colin was focused on his workout and his focus was on being the best football player and performing at the workout. He certainly did not agree to the pre-condition. Literally, this was on the eve of it and they cancelled it. It was supposed to be on Monday.

A source told the Seattle Times that the Seahawks asked Kaepernick about his plans for the upcoming season and his “off the field activities” and Kaepernick said he didn’t know. A 2017 report claimed that Kaepernick would be standing for the national anthem, but it was denied by his girlfriend, Nessa.

The Seahawks are in the market for a No. 2 quarterback behind starter Russell Wilson. They released backup quarterback Trevone Boykin after a domestic assault accusation from his girlfriend. Kaepernick visited with the Seahawks last year, but they opted to sign Austin Davis instead. At the time, coach Pete Carroll said, “We have a starter, but [Kaepernick]’s a starter in this league and I can’t imagine that somebody won’t give him a chance to play.”

Friday morning, the team signed Stephen Morris, who has never played in an NFL game.

Kaepernick’s cancelled workout with the Seahawks comes a week after Texans owner Bob McNair said he regretted apologizing for his comment made last year at meetings between players and owners to discuss protests during the national anthem. McNair said NFL owners “can’t have the inmates running the prison,” referring to the players. It also comes a day after Eric Reid’s free agent visit with the Bengals took a turn, when owner Mike Brown asked Reid if he planned on kneeling during the national anthem.

The protests in the NFL are something that most owners still want to see gone, and they could enact a policy where players either must stand, or stay in the locker room during it. At the owners meetings in March, SB Nation’s Thomas George wrote:

One high-ranking NFL official told me Monday that these owners meetings and subsequent ones are all about “moving the needle” toward no national anthem protests by the players. About getting there, in some circles among them, “come hell or high water.”

The owners plan to discuss the issue again in May at their next meeting.

The Seahawks have been known for letting players speak their minds, though they moved on from two of their most outspoken players this offseason, Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett. They’ve also been one of the most socially active teams in the NFL.

The Seahawks’ defensive line carried them in protest during the season, which included Dion Jordan, Frank Clark, Marcus Smith, Michael Bennett, Sheldon Richardson, Jarran Reed, Quinton Jefferson, and Branden Jackson. Linebacker Paul Dawson also sat during the season. Duane Brown, who the Texans traded to Seattle, also protested with the Seahawks by kneeling next to players who sat. Almost all of those players are still with the team.

Kaepernick showed in March that he’s stayed ready when his opportunity came, when his trainer, Josh Hidalgo, posted videos of him throwing and working out in Houston. He did so before sitting in on Texans owner Bob McNair’s deposition in his collusion case that was filed in November against the NFL owners.

Kaepernick’s fate has seemed clear, with mediocre quarterbacks getting jobs before him time and again since the 2016 offseason. But Thursday’s news confirms what we knew all along — that his lack of a job was never about his play. It was about his message.