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Sharpton defended Kaepernick as scrutiny came down on the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback and the NFL over a waiver the league wanted him to sign before participating at the workout. Kaepernick’s camp believed language on the injury portion of the waiver should have been narrowed.
“I think Kaepernick handled it right,” Sharpton told TMZ Sports. “To have to be told that you're gonna have to sign some waivers and limit the media is absolutely insulting.”
Sharpton added: “He is being penalized for standing up for the rights of people, standing up for criminal justice and to try and reduce him to some kind of photo op for the NFL is something that is antithetical for what he stood for and is insulting to the fans and is insulting to the intelligence of the American people.”
Sharpton said he was happy Kaepernick exposed the NFL’s so-called “hypocrisy.”
Kaepernick and his representatives announced a change of venue right before the workout was set to take place. Kaepernick had an issue with a portion of the waiver that held him liable for injuries “arising out of, occurring during, or related directly or indirectly to the workout,” according to TMZ Sports. The quarterback sent back his own waiver sticking to physical injuries.
The NFL said it sent Kaepernick’s reps “a standard liability waiver based on the waiver used by National Invitational Camp at all NFL Combines and by NFL clubs when trying out free agent players" on Wednesday, only for the quarterback's team to send "a completely rewritten and insufficient waiver” at noon Saturday.
Kaepernick was willing to sign a waiver that released the NFL from any legal liability should he have gotten injured during the workout, according to TMZ Sports.
But Kaepernick ultimately felt the NFL’s waiver could be “construed as much broader than that” and could have prevented him from bringing future action against the league over employment law violations or the league’s collective bargaining agreement, TMZ Sports reported.
In the end, Kaepernick decided to move locations, and the workout featured fewer team reps than what would have been at the NFL-hosted event. Afterward, he reminded NFL teams he was still ready to play.
“I’ve been ready for three years,” Kaepernick said. “I’ve been denied for three years. We all know why. I came out here today and showed it in front of everybody. We have nothing to hide. We’re waiting for the 32 owners, the 32 teams, [NFL Commissioner] Roger Goodell, all of them to stop running, stop running from the truth, stop running from the people.”