NFL changes Colin Kaepernick's status to 'UFA' from 'retired' on official website after severe backlash
The National Football League (NFL) faced backlash on Friday, May 22, after it listed former San Francisco 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick as 'retired' on its official website. The update came to light after the former quarterback's girlfriend, Nessa Diab, took to Twitter to slam the league for "lying" and claiming that Kaepernick is "retired".
Diab wrote: "Colin did NOT retire. You cowards blackballed him bc [sic] he peacefully protested against police brutality. He’s a Superbowl QB & should be playing bc [sic] his stats show that." She also shared a screenshot of Kaepernick's player profile page on the NFL’s website, which had listed him as "retired" at the time.
The quarterback has not played in the NFL since opting out of his contract in 2016. With multiple NFL teams hunting for game-changing quarterbacks in the wake of injuries to their existing players, Kaepernick had expressed an active interest in pursuing those vacancies. However, reports state that his controversial reputation might be getting in the way of him being taken on by any team. Kaepernick was the first NFL player to take a knee during the national anthem as a protest against racism and police brutality.
Shortly after the backlash, the league altered Kaepernick's status from retired to "UFA," meaning an unrestricted free agent. Diab, after the change, took to Twitter again to thank social media users for holding the league accountable for the error.
"Thank you to everyone who held the [NFL] accountable for falsely reporting that Colin 'retired' on their website," Diab said in a follow-up tweet. "They heard you loud & clear bc [sic] the NFL put the accurate description that [Kaepernick] is a [sic] Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA). Tell them to stop denying him employment."
Kaepernick began his protest in 2016 when he was with the San Francisco 49ers. The player stirred a national controversy in an effort to protest police brutality in the country. Other players soon took his cue and joined the protest in the 2016 season, while many others have continued the protest till now.
Kaepernick's movement drew heavy criticism from President Trump, who even called for the owners of the NFL teams to fire the players who were participating in it. The NFL, last year, had announced a rule which required all the players to stand during the national anthem. The association, however, gave an option to the players to stand off the field until the ceremony was over instead of kneeling outside.
The player, however, has continued to keep in shape, in the hope that a franchise will sign him and he will get to play again. Kaepernick, who had led San Francisco to the 2013 Super Bowl, last February had reached a confidential settlement with the NFL after alleging that the league blackballed him.
The NFL had arranged tryouts for the quarterback at Atlanta Falcons training facility in Georgia last year. However, the location was shifted to a high school stadium at the last minute. Kaepernick, while commenting on the change, had stated that it was done so that the media could be present. Reports state that Kaepernick's team decided to move the location of his workout after they accused the NFL of not acting rightfully.