All of a sudden Colin Kaepernick is Football’s Most Desirable Prom Date again, and if I had to wager a guess it would be to forestall that potentially sloppy collusion grievance he and lawyer Mark Geragos have aimed at the NFL.
According to ESPN’s Jim Trotter, Kaepernick was texted by Troy Vincent, one of Roger Goodell’s chief lieutenants, with an eye toward a meeting with the shrapnel-riddled commissioner. The text was dated Hallowe’en, so make of that what you will, but according to NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart, the league has not yet heard from Kaepernick, Geragos or anyone else empowered to speak on his behalf.
Lockhart also said in a conference call that Kaepernick would be invited to a larger meeting about social issues and the league’s responses to them between owners, league officials and players.
In other words, The Invisible Man is suddenly wearing a DayGlo suit that can be seen from space, and the league that has almost gymnastically shunned him has suddenly decided that he is a member in good standing -- except of course for the players contract part.
It is unclear what a meeting with Goodell would gain him, since Goodell is not actually empowered to give him a place on a team and in any event already has his own political problems with some of the Billionaire Boys Club. The larger meeting would, in fact, be almost like a job fair for Kaepernick if both he and the owners in the room were inclined to treat it as such.
But those are a steeplechase race full of hurdles to clear, which brings us back to the principal motive for the meetings -- feeling out the collusion issue.
The NFL may not have been as dim as Major League Baseball’s owners were in the 1990s when they lost three separate collusion cases by leaving their paperwork about for all to see, but billionaires are not always careful about the forensics when they want something as badly as they seem to want Kaepernick to be an ex-player. This reach-out to Kaepernick by Goodell, if it is true, puts Goodell in an increasingly risky position viz. Jerry Jones, Danny Snyder, Bob McNair and the other ownership hardliners.
In other words, let us do the prudent thing and cool our jets on all this. There are other, invisible, shoes yet to drop, or not, and the best way to be wrong on a Colin Kaepernick story is to imagine that there is thawing in his relationship with the league that spurned him.