NFL: Kaepernick working out with Raiders -- reports

Agence France-Presse

Posted at May 26 2022 08:59 AM

San Francisco 49ers back-up quarterback Colin Kaepernick takes a knee during the US national anthem before the NFL game between the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, USA, 02 October 2016. File photo. John G. Mabanglo, EPA.
San Francisco 49ers back-up quarterback Colin Kaepernick takes a knee during the US national anthem before the NFL game between the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, USA, 02 October 2016. File photo. John G. Mabanglo, EPA.

LOS ANGELES -- Colin Kaepernick has been invited to train with the Las Vegas Raiders, marking the first time the quarterback has worked out with an NFL team since his de facto exile from the sport following his 2016 social justice protests, reports said Wednesday.

ESPN and NFL Network both reported that Kaepernick was working out with the Raiders this week after being approached by the team.

Kaepernick, 34, has not played in the NFL or trained with a club since becoming a free agent in 2017 after being informed that he would be released by the San Francisco 49ers.

Kaepernick's departure from the 49ers, who he led to a Super Bowl appearance in 2013, followed a tumultuous 2016 campaign in which he sparked a nationwide debate by refusing to stand for the US national anthem to draw attention to racial injustice.

It followed the deaths of several unarmed black men at the hands of US law enforcement.

In September 2017, the wider protest movement started by Kaepernick became a target of criticism by then US President Donald Trump, calling a player who kneeled a "son of a bitch" and saying all who kneeled should be fired for insulting the nation and its military.

Kaepernick later sued the NFL, accusing team owners of colluding to keep him out of the league following his departure from the 49ers. He subsequently settled the suit for a figure reported to be less than $10 million.

Kaepernick's activism has been viewed more sympathetically by the NFL in the wake of the nationwide debate over racial injustice triggered by the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis in 2020.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell later apologized over the league's handling of Kaepernick's protests.

"I wish we had listened earlier, Kaep, to what you were kneeling about and what you were trying to bring attention to," Goodell said in 2020. 

"We had invited him in several times to have the conversation, to have the dialogue. I wish we had the benefit of that, we never did. We would have benefited from that, absolutely.”

© Agence France-Presse