Eric Reid and Stephen A. Smith had a heated exchange over Colin Kaepernick and the workout he held on Saturday.
The workout was originally supposed to take place at the Atlanta Falcons’ training facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia, but shortly before it started the quarterback moved it to Charles Drew High School in Riverdale, Georgia.
Kaepernick’s handlers said they were looking for more transparency in the workout that was set up by the NFL, and he wanted media to be present, which reportedly the league didn’t agree to. Kaepernick and the NFL had other disagreements about the workout too.
“From the outset, Mr. Kaepernick requested a legitimate process and from the outset the NFL league office has not provided one,” read a statement from Kaepernick’s representatives Ben Meiselas and Jeff Nalley.
“Most recently, the NFL has demanded that as a precondition to the workout, Mr. Kaepernick sign an unusual liability waiver that addresses employment-related issues and rejected the standard liability waiver from physical injury proposed by Mr. Kaepernick’s representative,” it continued.
Smith’s response to Kaepernick’s decision came Saturday via Instagram, and he heavily criticized the 32-year-old for the abrupt switch.
“You see, he don’t want to play. He wants to be a martyr,” Smith claimed. “But guess what? It ain’t working this time. All of us believe that Colin Kaepernick would’ve showed out and if he had showed out, I’m here to tell you, I believe he would’ve had a job inside of two weeks. But it didn’t happen because he didn’t show. … You don’t want to work. You want to make noise and you want to control the narrative.”
Reid, who’s Kaepernick’s friend and knelt with him when they were members of the San Francisco 49ers, responded to Smith’s message Saturday on Twitter.
“Tap dancing for the NFL,” wrote Reid, who now plays for the Carolina Panthers. “Damn straight Colin wants to control the narrative! He supposed to trust the organization that blackballed him and has done absolutely nothing in good faith??? Born on Tuesday, just not last Tuesday.”
Smith then shot back.
“The more you talk, the more ridiculous you sound, @e_reid35,” he wrote Sunday on Instagram. “Actually, it’s worse than I thought since you’re the one tweeting at me hours before a damn game.”
“And speaking of the game, weren’t you in Atlanta in attendance for Kaepernick’s workout yesterday, before having to leave EARLY to play for a team in a league you’re feeling so oppressed by?” Smith continued. “Wasn’t that you? Just asking!”
It was announced last week that the NFL would set up a workout for Kaepernick and invite all 32 of the league’s teams to attend. The quarterback hasn’t played since 2016 before opting out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers during the offseason.
Before that, he began kneeling for the national anthem to protest systematic racism and police brutality. The workout was supposed to show teams that Kaepernick could still play. But in his video, Smith said he blew the opportunity and probably won’t be in the league as a result.
In the drills that were held at the high school, Kaepernick threw passes for about 40 minutes to wide receivers Jordan Veasy, Bruce Ellington, Bice Butler and Ari Werts before addressing reporters.
“I’ve been ready for three years, I’ve been denied for three years,” Kaepernick told them. “We are waiting for the 32 owners, 32 teams and [NFL Commissioner] Roger Goodell to stop running. Stop running from the truth, stop running from the people.”