The NFL Is Just Not That Into Colin Kaepernick, and This Sham 'Workout' Proves It

Photo: Sean M. Haffey (Getty Images)

While thinking about the nebulous “workout” the NFL recently offered to Colin Kaepernick, I’m reminded of...He’s Just Not That Into You. Which, well, let me explain:

Like most other zeitgeist-driving cultural entities of the early aughts, the general premise of the book and subsequent film He’s Just Not That Into You hasn’t aged well. Back then, however, the idea that women interested in romantic relationships with men were the only ones who needed to shift their behaviors—to understand men better or to make themselves more attractive—spawned an entire ecosystem of books, movies, TV shows, Nightline specials, newspaper profiles, packed-venue panels, and blogs (including, well, this one). Of course, there’s still contemporary content premised on that lie, but it mostly now exists on the outskirts of popular culture; in YouTube rabbit-holes and pick-me tweets instead of the New York Times bestseller list.

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That said, if you are a person who happens to be dating, recognizing the behavior of someone who’s putting a half-assed effort into seeing you is vital, and just not that into you is a succinct and effective way of articulating that dynamic. And what the NFL is doing to Colin Kaepernick is akin to a 5 o’clock text ask for a 5:45 date.

“I’m free in 45 minutes if you want to meet me at the spot.”

“I already have plans. Can we move it to Monday?”

“Nah.”

“Saturday?

“Nope.”

“8pm tonight at least?”

You said you wanted to hang out. Do you want to or not, cause I can do something else.”

Everything about this sham ask feels gross. There’s the fact that the workout is on a Saturday—the day most NFL teams are traveling to and preparing for games and can’t be bothered with anything other than who they’re playing the next day. Knowing this, Kaepernick’s reps asked for the workout to be moved to a Tuesday, which is the usual day things like this happen.

The NFL’s response, per ESPN.

But the NFL said the workout had to be on a Saturday, sources previously told ESPN. When the league was asked whether it could be the following Saturday — by making it this Saturday, the 32 teams had only about three days to decide whether to attend and whom to send—the NFL said no and didn’t provide a reason.

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Kaepernick’s people also asked for a list of teams who planned on attending—literally the very least they could do to make this process feel less icky. The NFL’s official response? “Nah.” Holy shit.

Of course, there have been rumors that Jay-Z was somehow involved in having this workout arranged, which is actually a worse look for him if it’s actually true. This is the end result of y’all’s favorite billionaire’s seat at the table? Convincing the NFL to send Colin Kaepernick a 1 a.m. “wyd” text? That was Jigga’s master plan?

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There’s little doubt that the NFL just wants Colin Kaepernick to go away, and inviting a 32-year-old man who hasn’t stepped on a field in three years to a last-minute workout is a way of alleviating blame. Now, they can always just say “You can’t say we didn’t ask him to hang out.”

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About the author

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB and a columnist for GQ.com. His debut memoir in essays, What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins), is available for preorder.