The Raiders might think a player with Colin Kaepernick’s social conscience could prove a positive force for the teamGetty Images
Colin Kaepernick practiced for the Raiders yesterday, his first practice with an NFL team since 2017, and the hope is that he was ‘genuine’ and ‘only to find out if 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 conspired against once he started openly protesting racial injustice,” should “get another chance, however long.” Perhaps new Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler and coach Josh McDaniels “just believe he still has a level of skill that could benefit their vision for the Raiders.” But that ‘makes little sense from a football perspective’ given Kaepernick’s age and ‘years without being under centre’. The franchise, however, has “hardly benefited from any positive off-the-field headlines of late”, so “maybe, just maybe, that’s it: given how much Raiders owner Mark Davis, likes Kaepernick, the team could look to him as someone who could elevate the culture. a locker room.” A franchise that hired the NFL’s first black coach and its first female CEO in the modern era might think a player with Kaepernick’s social conscience “could prove a force for good,” which would make it “a movement instead of a movement” (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 5/26).
TAKE IT SERIOUSLY: ESPN’s Louis Riddick said “you don’t bring someone into your establishment unless you really want to find out who the individual authentically is, both as a person and as a player, regardless who it is.” Riddick: “In Colin Kaepernick’s case, it’s very, very, very significant because it’s the first time someone has brought him to his faculty and not just had a conversation with him.” Riddick noted, “I don’t think we should be shocked given the history of the Raiders franchise. … It’s Las Vegas Raiders culture. It’s been as inclusive in an organization as it has been in any professional sports league” (“Stand 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, at the right time (to sign Kaepernick)’ (“It’s Schein Time,” CBSSN, 5/25).
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? Conor Orr of SI.com wrote that the “most interesting part” of team training with Kaepernick is “not necessarily what the Raiders decide, but what everyone else does next”. Allowing legitimate training to take place “serves as a trial balloon for the rest of the NFL.” If the Raiders are “sunk by letter-writing campaigns, picketed by Kaepernick haters, and bullied by politicians with access to social media,” the rest of the NFL “will likely scatter like the 32 teams did there.” 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 simply that we have no more signs to make and move on to the next topic up for debate)”, it could actually be the “chance to see what we’ve been missing all this time”. Or, if we missed “a lot” (SI.com, 5/25). ESPN’s Adam Schefter said “you would have an element with the football side, is it worth it there? But can you imagine the business side and how many Kaepernick Raiders shirts the organization would sell? It would be extremely popular (and ) very profitable” (“Sports Center,” ESPN, 5/25).