Colin Kaepernick was reportedly in consideration as a free agent acquisition for the Baltimore Ravens, but according to Ray Lewis, an incredibly controversial tweet by the quarterback’s girlfriend, Nessa Diab sealed his fate.
The tweet compares former Ray Lewis to Samuel L. Jackson’s slave character in Django Unchained. That would make team owner Steve Bisciotti as a direct comparison to Leonardo DiCaprio:
As of April, Kaepernick and Diab were still together. And judging by the tweet, they appear to be going strong. Here’s what Lewis said on “Showtime’s Inside the NFL,” per CBS Sports’ transcription:
Judy Battista: “I’m startled that he has not been signed. I’ve been told ever since I’ve started covering the NFL that talent wins out. We’ve seen teams take chances on a lot of unsavory characters. The fact that this is what has tipped over and they can’t come to grips with signing a guy who has kneeled for the national anthem but you’ve signed guys that have enormous legal issues — and they’ve been embraced by teams and they’ve been embraced by fans — I find that curious.”
Ray Lewis: “When me and Steve Bisciotti were talking, this is what we were talking about, Judy. We were talking about giving this kid an opportunity to get back in the National Football League. Look, this is what I wanted to share with people. I have been fighting for this kid behind the table like nobody has … I’ve never been against Colin Kaepernick. But I am against the way he’s done it.
“Then, his girl [Colin Kaepernick’s girlfriend] goes out and put out this racist gesture and doesn’t know we are in the back office about to try to get this guy signed. Steve Bisciotti has said it himself, ‘How can you crucify Ray Lewis when Ray Lewis is the one calling for Colin Kaepernick?’ …
“When they (Ravens) called me, it was to say, ‘Yes or no?’ … We were going to close the deal to sign him … Steve Bisciotti said, ‘I want to hear Colin Kaeperkick speak to let me know that he wants to play football.’ … And it never happens because that picture comes up the next day. ”
Battista: “So, if not for that … tweet, you think he would be a Baltimore Raven?”
Lewis: “Then he’s flying him to Baltimore. I am sitting with all three of them and we are all having a conversation about bringing Colin Kaepernick in.”
The tweet was in response to Lewis’ comments about Kaepernick’s off-field decisions.
Lewis gave Kaepernick advice for how to act, and he’s basically told Kap to “stick to sports.”
After leaving the FOX studio, Lewis recorded a message and posted it on his Twitter. He said he prays for Kaepernick every day and applauds what Kap stands up for, but he needs to get back on the field.
“What you do off the field, don’t let too many people know,” Lewis said. “Because they gonna judge you anyway. No matter what you do. No matter if it’s good or bad.
“If you do nothing else young man, get back on the football field and let your play speak for itself.”
Lewis seems supportive of Kaepernick, but asking him not to speak out on what he believes in doesn’t seem like the best advice. Kaepernick probably won’t kneel for the national anthem if he’s signed by anyone, but telling him not to address any social issues is probably too much to ask considering how much he values being an activist.
Lewis’ former team, the Ravens, had considered signing him after Joe Flacco’s injury.
After rumors circulated that the Ravens had been met with “resistance” at the thought of signing Kaepernick, the team has released an official statement:
“We are going through a process, and we have not made a decision. Steve Bisciotti has not told us we cannot sign Colin Kaepernick, nor has he blocked the move. Whoever is making those claims is wrong.” – General Manager Ozzie Newsome
Former Ravens star Shannon Sharpe criticized the team in a sharp manner after passing on Kaepernick earlier this summer with two peculiar quarterback signings. With that said, reports say it came down to team owner, Bisciotti.
That is a story in and of itself but, Dianna Russini of ESPN also brings word that an additional NFL team saw its owner jump into the mix to block potential interest, even if she does not name the team specifically.
On Kaepernick’s side, this is a brutal chain of events, even if not an overly surprising one. Much of the sentiment surrounding his continued employment has centered on fear from fans and even advertisers. At the end of the day, the owner is the one that must answer for that more so than the front office, personnel and coaching positions for the squad.
At the same time, it is a (very) bad look for a lot of people to see ownership standing in the way of a better player finding work because of non-violent protest and, until Kaepernick signed, this will be a dominant story line to follow across the NFL world.
However, it sounds like ownership isn’t quite on the same page as the team’s owner in Steve Bisciotti is leaning toward not signing him.
While the front office is supposed to make these kinds of decisions, don’t be surprised if Bisciotti intervenes and vetoes any potential Kaepernick deal. He is one of the owners strongly against the national anthem protests and would probably not appreciate the guy leading the charge to be on his team. He did say the team is bringing in another QB without a team to work out.
Kaepernick should get a job at some point, and it will be fascinating to see whether he is still vocal about his beliefs or if he just sticks to sports.