NFL owners and players will meet next Tuesday on the issues that matter to them, and this time around, Colin Kaepernick is expected to be in attendance.
“I expect he will be invited to this meeting,” NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart told The Washington Post. “We look forward to him joining the conversation.”
Malcolm Jenkins told The Washington Post that Kaepernick was invited to the last meeting between players and owners. When asked why Kaepernick wasn’t in attendance, he said, “I don’t know. I can’t answer that question.”
Kaepernick’s legal representatives then issued a statement saying that while he had received an invitation from the players, the NFL had not sent a formal invitation as it did for other players. Because he didn’t receive the formal invitation, it seems Kaepernick opted not to attend, though that is not certain. The league later said it’s up to the players to decide who will attend to represent them, per The Washington Post.
This time, he’s expected to attend:
Colin Kaepernick was invited by #NFL players to attend next meeting w/ owners and will attend. Players are happy to have him join, I’m told.
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) October 25, 2017
The meeting will take place 16 days after Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL owners for collusion. Kaepernick has been a free agent since March.
It will be the second dialogue between the owners and players about the NFL supporting the players and their concerns about societal issues that were raised by Kaepernick during the preseason in 2016, when he sat during the national anthem.
The first meeting took place on Oct. 17, where it was expected that owners would come away with a new rule to require players to stand for the national anthem. That did not happen. Instead, discussions centered around the NFL and NFLPA working together to promote positive social change and addressing inequalities in society.
However, commissioner Roger Goodell did take a stance on the national anthem in a press conference afterward, saying, “We believe everyone should stand for the national anthem, it’s an important part of our game.”
Prior to their meeting last Tuesday, the NFL officially endorsed the Grassley-Durbin criminal reform bill. The bill’s purpose is to “recalibrate prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, target violent and career criminals, and save taxpayer dollars.” It was unofficially the NFL’s first step in showing any sort of acknowledgement of the issues the players are concerned about.
Thirteen former and current players attended the last meeting, including Anquan Boldin, Malcolm Jenkins, Eric Reid, Josh Norman, and Chris Long. DeMaurice Smith and Roger Goodell were among NFL and NFLPA representatives, and Arthur Blank, Shad Khan, and Robert Kraft were three of 11 NFL owners in attendance.
The meeting seemed like a step, but its biggest criticism was that Kaepernick was not invited. It’s a fair critique, and now that Kaepernick will have an invitation extended to him, representation among players will seem much more appropriate.