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Kaepernick's workout with Raiders raises questions about what future holds

Raiders might think a player with Colin Kaepernick’s social conscience could prove a positive force for the teamGetty Images

Colin Kaepernick worked out for the Raiders yesterday, his first workout with an NFL team since ‘17, and the hope is that it was "genuine" and "solely about whether he can help the Raiders on the field," according to Ed Graney of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. A player like Kaepernick, who some NFL owners "basically schemed against once he began openly protesting racial injustice," should "have another shot, however long it might be.” Perhaps new Raiders GM Dave Ziegler and coach Josh McDaniels simply “believe he still has a level of skill that might benefit their vision for the Raiders.” But this “makes little sense football-wise" given Kaepernick’s age and "years of not being under center.” The franchise, though, has "hardly enjoyed positive off-field headlines lately,” so "maybe, just maybe, it’s this: Given how fond Raiders owner Mark Davis is of Kaepernick, the team might envision him as one who could lift the culture of a locker room." A franchise which hired the NFL’s first Black coach and its first female CEO of the modern era might think a player with Kaepernick’s social conscience "could prove a positive force," making this "a movement instead of a move" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 5/26).

TAKING IT SERIOUSLY: ESPN’s Louis Riddick said “you don’t bring someone into your facility unless you are serious about trying to find out who the individual is authentically, both as a person and as a player, regardless of who it is.” Riddick: “In the case of Colin Kaepernick, this is very, very, very significant because this is the first time someone has brought him into their faculty and not just had a conversation with him.” Riddick noted, “I don’t think we should be shocked considering what the history is of the Raiders franchise. … This is the culture of the Las Vegas Raiders. It’s been as inclusive of an organization as there has been across any professional sports league” (“Get Up,” ESPN, 5/26). CBSSN’s Adam Schein said the Raiders “have a history of doing the right thing when it comes to Art Shell, Amy Trask, Tom Flores, and there’s a need.” Schein: “The Raiders are the right team, right time (to sign Kaepernick)” (“Time to Schein,” CBSSN, 5/25).

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? SI.com’s Conor Orr wrote the "most interesting part" of the team's workout with Kaepernick is "not necessarily what the Raiders decide, but what everyone else does next.” Allowing a legitimate workout to take place “serves as a trial balloon for the rest of the NFL.” If the Raiders are "snowed under by letter-writing campaigns, picketed by Kaepernick haters and bullied by politicians with social media access," the rest of the NFL will likely "scatter just like all 32 teams did a few years ago.” If enough people “collectively shrug their shoulders, realizing that we may have come far enough as a society to understand Kaepernick’s intentions (or just that we’re all out of signs to make and on to the next topic to debate)," there might actually be the "chance to see what we’ve been missing all this time.” Or, if we were “missing much at all” (SI.com, 5/25). ESPN’s Adam Schefter said "you’d have one element with the football side, is it worth it there? But can you imagine the business side and how many Kaepernick Raiders jerseys the organization would sell? It would be hugely popular (and) very profitable” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 5/25).

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