Stephen A. Smith Believes Colin Kaepernick Shoulders Some Blame For Still Being Out of NFL

Colin Kaepernick
Colin Kaepernick / Leon Bennett/GettyImages

Colin Kaepernick's name has once again risen to the top of the discourse pile after the quarterback posted a video of himself working out ahead of NFL free agency this week. Kaepernick, of course, has not seen the field since 2016 and his continued unemployment remains confounding to many. After five years, that seems unlikely to change.

Stephen A. Smith and Marcus Spears touched on the topic during First Take today and Spears monologued for a bit about how unjust it was for Kaepernick to get blackballed by the NFL for kneeling during the national anthem. Smith, however, took a bit of a different angle. He contended that, at this point, Kaepernick should shoulder some of the blame for being unable to find an NFL job.

Smith reasons that after a half-decade, Kaepernick should have been able to negotiate with the NFL in some capacity and gotten a job. The ESPN analyst believes Kaepernick was so dedicated to making his return in exactly the manner he wanted that he sacrificed legitimate opportunities to make a comeback.

Smith points to Kaepernick's 2019 workout as his primary example. The league set up a workout for the former Niners QB and invited every team to attend. Then Kaepernick changed the location at the last second, throwing everything out of whack. Smith reports from a source that, if the workout had gone as planned, Kaepernick would have had to fail catastrophically to leave the building without a job offer. So while Kaepernick was kept out of football for unfair reasons over the last few years, he could have done something to change his circumstances if he was willing to play ball with the NFL and meet them halfway in some regard.

It is an argument that likely has a kernel of truth. Kaepernick didn't do himself any favors by moving his workout at the final hour in 2019. There were probably more avenues to take in the pursuit of a comeback, yet from the outside it appears that Kaepernick was merely waiting for someone to call him and posting the occasional workout video.

But can you really blame the guy if that's all he did? Players of his caliber are always given numerous opportunities to succeed after initially proving themselves. Players of significantly lesser caliber are, too. He led the 49ers to a Super Bowl. He shouldn't have sat around the last five years on the couch and he certainly shouldn't have to play the NFL's game behind the scenes to get his second chance when he shouldn't have even been forced to seek a second chance in the first place.

It is, however, the reality. And it's a reality unlikely to change at this point.