SEATTLE – A planned visit between the Seattle Seahawks and quarterback Colin Kaepernick was reportedly called off at the last minute over the weekend, but the reasons for the decision vary depending on whose report you choose to believe.
Kaepernick was famously the catalyst for the decision by many NFL players to either kneel or sit on the bench during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. Kaepernick didn’t land with an NFL team last season, and filed a collusion lawsuit in October after several quarterbacks were injured but he hadn’t been invited for any workouts.
At least five outlets did original reporting on the story Thursday morning, and there was a fairly even split on to what degree the Seahawks’ decision to cancel Monday’s scheduled workout hinged on Kaepernick’s refusal to say he would stand for the anthem next season. The Seahawks didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Q13 News on Thursday morning.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the story, saying “Seattle postponed the trip when the quarterback declined to stop kneeling during the national anthem next season.” Yahoo’s Charles Robinson and CBS Sports Jason La Confora reported much the same.
The Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta, on the other hand, reported that a source told him the Seahawks asked Kaepernick about his commitment to football and his plans for off-field activities, but that Kaepernick said he didn’t know. The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport confirmed that’s what his sources were saying, and added that the lawsuit might’ve also been part of the conversation and that the story from the team and from Kaepernick’s camp differed.
Most reports suggested that the workout could still happen, but that the Seahawks wanted to have more internal discussions first.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said in an interview after the season that he believed the decision of several Seahawks to sit on the bench during the anthem "took its toll," particularly in a loss to the Tennessee Titans after a week in which Carroll and several players drew attention from the national media.
“I think it had an effect in that game that week in Tennessee,” Carroll said at the time. “I think it had an effect on a lot of teams and players. It was an extraordinarily heated time. That was a different amount of emotional output that occurred before the game, and it looked like it, the way we played. It looked like it took its toll.”