By Craig Hill
The News Tribune
The Seattle Seahawks postponed a workout for Colin Kaepernick this week after the controversial quarterback declined to say if he would continue kneeling during the national anthem, reports say.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported it first Thursday, saying the Seahawks contacted Kaepernick about two weeks ago to arrange a visit.
Kaepernick “declined to stop kneeling during the national anthem next season,” according to ESPN. That report was contradicted in part by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who reported that the Seahawks postponed the workout because “the team asked for his plan moving forward on how to handle everything and there was not a firm plan.”
A source told the Seattle Times that Kaepernick was asked by the team what his off-field activities would be and that he didn’t know. The Seahawks were said to want a more defined plan from Kaepernick about his social activism plans including, but not just, whether he would continue kneeling for the anthem.
Without that clarity, the Seahawks postponed the trip so coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider could further discuss it, but left the door open for Kaepernick to visit.
The Seahawks still need a backup to Russell Wilson, who is the only quarterback currently on the roster. Trevone Boykin was released last month after his arrest in Texas on suspicion of domestic violence. And the team’s No. 2 last season, Austin Davis, is a free agent.
Under Carroll, the Seahawks have been regarded as being supportive of players’ social stances and causes. Carroll publicly supported the decision of Michael Bennett to sit for the anthem last season. Carroll also supported the team’s decision to stay in the locker room for the anthem before a game at Tennessee when the players wanted to make a statement following tweets and statements from President Trump criticizing players who did not stand for the anthem.
But Carroll also said at the end of last season that he thought some of the off-field activities took a toll on the team’s performance on the field, especially the 33-27 loss at Tennessee.
After Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers parted company more than a year ago, he went unsigned in 2017 following a relatively successful 2016 campaign. He began kneeling during the playing of the national anthem during the 2016 preseason to protest police brutality and racial injustice in the United States.
Kaepernick, 30, visited with the Seahawks last May, when Seattle was in the market for a backup quarterback.
“He’s a starter in this league,” Carroll told reporters after the Seahawks passed on Kaepernick. “We have a starter, but he is a starter in this league, and I can’t imagine somebody won’t give him a chance to play.”
That is the only reported visit Kaepernick has had with an NFL team since he opted out of his contract in March 2017, a move he made knowing the team was going to release him, which allowed him to hit free agency earlier.
Kaepernick subsequently filed suit against the NFL for collusion.
And in Texas on Thursday, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones gave a deposition in the Kaepernick collusion grievance against the NFL, a source confirmed. Yahoo! Sports first reported the meeting.
Jones has been a leading critic of the anthem protests. He has banned his team from kneeling during the anthem, threatening to bench anyone who didn’t respect the flag.
Jones was critical of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of the protests and had a long-standing business relationship with John Schnatter, the former Papa Johns chief executive officer, who ripped the protesters for hurting the NFL and the pizza franchises’ earnings.
Jones is the second known owner to be deposed, following Bob McNair of the Houston Texans. Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome and coach John Harbaugh were also deposed.
Kaepernick sat in the previous depositions, just as he did with Jones.
At least four other NFL owners are still on the docket for depositions, including the New England Patriots’ Robert Kraft, the Miami Dolphins’ Stephen Ross, the Seahawks’ Paul Allen and the San Francisco 49ers’ Jed York, according to Yahoo! Sports.