In hopes of returning to the NFL, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick posted a workout video on Twitter to prove that he is ‘still ready’ after being ‘denied work for 889 days.’
Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since the 2016 season, when he ignited a nationwide controversy by protesting inequality and racist police brutality by refusing to stand for the national anthem.
The caption of Kaepernick’s tweet reads: ‘5am. 5 days a week. For 3 years. Still Ready.’
The video begins with a graphic, reading: ‘Denied work for: 889 Days (via @KapWatch).’
From there the 31-year-old is seen doing a variety of weight-lifting exercises including pull-ups, arm curls, push-ups, the chest fly, and lateral arm raises before taking off his sleeveless Nike shirt and tossing at the camera.
The Houston Texans could be in the market for a backup quarterback after signal caller A.J. McCarron injured the thumb on his throwing hand.
Anticipating his release from the 49ers, Kaepernick opted out of his contract in March of 2017 and has remained a free agent ever since while other players have continued protesting before NFL games.
In February, Kaepernick and fellow-protester Eric Reid both settled their respective collusion lawsuits against the NFL, in which they accused teams of conspiring to keep them out of the league in retaliation for their roles in the controversial protests.
The exact figure of the deals were never revealed, but in March, The Wall Street Journal reported that people briefed on the grievance settlement said Kaepernick and Reid made less than $10 million. The report did not specify how the money was split.
An NFL spokesman told the Daily Mail the league will continue to honor the agreement, and refrained from commenting on the Wall Street Journal report.
Had Kaepernick won the grievance, the NFL collective bargaining agreement would have entitled him to damages worth three times the amount he lost as a result of the collusion, as determined by an independent arbitrator.
Both Kaepernick and Reid needed to prove not only that they deserved to be signed by an NFL team, but that there had been a coordinated effort to keep both players on the free-agent market.
Kaepernick attorney Mark Geragos argued that it was a ‘statistical impossibility’ that Kaepernick had been passed over on merit alone, but it’s unclear if he had proof that the owners agreed to leave him unsigned.
The question of whether or not Kaepernick is good enough to play in the NFL has remained a topic of conversation around the league for the last two seasons.
Kaepernick did lead the 49ers to three consecutive NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl, and his career 88.9 quarterback rating is superior to the marks of several quarterbacks who started over the course of the 2018 season.
Over his six-year NFL career, Kaepernick completed 59.8 percent of his passes for 12,271 yards, 72 touchdowns and just 30 interceptions. He also ran for 2,300 yards and 13 touchdowns, gaining 6.1 yards per carry.
Previously both Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said they feel as though Kaepernick is good enough to be playing in the NFL, and Rogers went so far as to tell ESPN that he believes the former University of Nevada star remains a free agent because of the protests.
However, Kaepernick won only 11 of 35 starts from 2014 to 2016, and had lost his starting job by the end of the 2016 campaign.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spoke to reporters ahead of Super Bowl LIII and insisted that teams made their respective decisions about Kaepernick individually.
‘If a team decides Colin Kaepernick or any other player can help their team win … that’s what they’ll do,’ Goodell said.
‘Our clubs are the ones that make decisions about players they want to have on their roster,’ Goodell continued. ‘They make it individually. They all want to win. They are going to do whatever they need to do to win. That’s our focus. It will continue to be our focus.’
In a recent poll conducted by The Athletic, 81 of 85 players said they believe the Kaepernick should be in the NFL. Two players voted ‘no’ and another two replied ‘no comment.’
While three players replied that Kaepernick should be a backup, many others believed he could start over such first-string quarterbacks as Blake Bortles (20 percent), who was recently released by the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Oakland Raiders signal caller Nathan Peterman (18 percent).
Bortles finished the season with a 79.8 quarterback rating while Peterman’s 30.7 mark would have been the NFL’s worst if he had enough games to qualify for the league’s leader board.
‘S***, any team that carries three quarterbacks for sure, the third guy on that roster,’ an anonymous player told The Athletic, explain whom Kaepernick should replace. ‘And a majority of the teams with two quarterbacks, he should be the backup. And some places he should be the starter.’
The controversial protests coincided with a 17 percent drop in Nielsen ratings for the NFL over the 2016 and 2017 seasons, but viewership was back up in 2018 as the league boasted the largest audiences of any American sports league.
The NFL did not institute any rule requiring players to stand for the anthem during the 2017 season, which resulted in significant criticism from President Donald Trump.
In May of 2018, the NFL and Goodell changed course and announced a new policy: Players would no longer be required to be on the field during the anthem – a rule that began in 2009 – but anyone on the field of play would be required to stand. Teams could be fined for any personnel not standing, and they would have the right to fine players individually.
However, the league changed course in July of 2018 and decided to negotiate a resolution with the players association. No final decision has been announced.