- The Washington Times - Monday, November 18, 2019

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith says he is tired of “planned” theatrics by activist/former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

The host of “First Take” blasted Mr. Kaepernick on Monday for last-minute changes to a workout in which 25 NFL teams wanted to assess his skills.

Mr. Kaepernick — who started national anthem protests across the league — has not played since his time with the San Francisco 49ers in 2016.

“The fact that he did not show up, to me, eradicates his points all together from the standpoint of the NFL ‘I’m looking for a job, running from the truth’ and all this nonsense, his ‘I have a dream’ speech he gave to the media and the public Saturday,” Mr. Smith said of moving the workout from an Atlanta Falcons training facility to a high school. 

The host said that Mr. Kaepernick’s claim about having to sign an unreasonable liability waiver seems disingenuous, given the timeline of events.

“One half-hour before your workout was scheduled was when the league and team officials were informed that you would not be appearing,” Mr. Smith said. “That was planned. … Then you show up there, there’s a whole bunch of people with Kaepernick jerseys wearing, you know, ‘I’m with Kap.’ “

Mr. Smith concluded by saying the free agent’s actions are not reflective of a man who seriously is vying for a job.

“You showed up in a Kunta Kinte shirt,” he said in reference the slavery novel “Roots” and its famous character. “That’s what you did for owners you want to play for. Now, whether you like it or not, the bottom line is there are owners in the league with the ability to employ you. When you want a job, these are not things that you do. Because when you do them, chances are an employer is not going to employ you.”

The host also published a video over the weekend saying Mr. Kaepernick wants to “make noise and control the narrative.”

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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