Colin Kaepernick has consistently said that he still wants to play in the NFL. He’s also shared workout videos to prove his level of fitness and ran through quarterback drills for NFL scouts last year to show he can still play.
But the NFL still listed him as “retired” when it recently changed its website, although he’s a free agent.
Kaepernick’s girlfriend Nessa Diab recently caught wind of the retired listing after a Twitter user shared a screenshot of it, and she blasted the league.
“The @NFL @nflcommish @NFLPA lying on their NFL website claiming @Kaepernick7 ‘retired,'” she tweeted on Friday, May 22. “Colin did NOT retire. You cowards blackballed him bc he peacefully protested against police brutality. He’s a Superbowl QB & should be playing bc his stats show that.”
Kaepernick began kneeling for pregame performances of the national anthem to protest police brutality and criminal justice inequities during the 2016 season.
Critics accused him of being unpatriotic and disrespecting the military by kneeling, including President Donald Trump. But many others rallied around Kaepernick, including some NFL players like his former San Francisco 49ers teammate Eric Reid. There were also athletes in other sports like soccer and baseball who chose to kneel during the national anthem in their games.
Kaepernick hasn’t been picked up by an NFL team since he became a free agent at the end of the 2016 season. He and Reid eventually filed a collusion suit against the league and settled for less than $10 million, which they reportedly split. Reid, a safety, played for the 49ers in 2017 before signing in 2018 with the Carolina Panthers, who he played for for two seasons before being released this past February.
Diab has slammed the NFL before for its treatment of Kaepernick, and her latest tweet doing so sparked plenty of comments.
“Stay on their necks,” someone wrote.
“That’s jacked-up, the NFL caved, they never will be half the man Kap is,” another person followed.
A third person wrote, “Does he receive all the benefits of a retired player? Just saying where is my bread.”
It seems the NFL reacted to the complaints, because it now says “UFA” — for unrestricted free agent — next to Kaepernick’s name.
“Thank you to everyone who held the @NFL accountable for falsely reporting that Colin ‘retired’ on their website,” tweeted Diab after the change. “They heard you loud & clear bc the NFL put the accurate description that @Kaepernick7 is a Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA). Tell them to stop denying him employment.”