Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was rejected by the XFL due to his “exorbitant” salary demands, says league commissioner Oliver Luck.
Luck told NPR that Kaepernick was one of a number of former NFL stars who were approached to join the legue, but ultimately, salary restriction in the XFL meant that the league “couldn’t go down that road”.
“We gave it some thought,” Luck said. “We have some pretty significant salary restrictions, you know. We’re a start-up league, so we want to make sure that we can be fiscally responsible and fiscally prudent. And the salary requirements that some folks shared with us were, in our case, exorbitant, so we couldn’t go down that path.”
“We spoke with his representative and the salary requirements that were broached in that conversation were exorbitant and certainly out of our range,” Luck later added.
The Colin Kaepernick story
If the league had been able to secure the services of a man like Colin Kaepernick, it would have been HUGE and would have gone a long way towards securing the survival of the XFL long-term.
Kaepernick has been pretty much out of work, bar the odd Nike ad here and there, since he left the San Francisco 49ers following the 2016 season.
In the 2016 season, as I’m sure you’re no doubt aware, Kaepernick ignited something of a feud between the NFL and the then brand new Donald Trump led US government by kneeling during the national anthem.
He took the knee to protest against racial injustice in the United States of America. With young, black men being killed by police officers – despite having done nothing, or very little, wrong – it was time to take action.
Kaepernick’s actions inspired a whole generation of athletes to use their platform to make a statement, and many in the league followed suit.
Donald Trump, as you may have expected, didn’t take too kindly to this and called upon all NFL owners to “fire” any player who didn’t stand and respect the national anthem. Colin Kaepernick was defiant in his beliefs, and refused to cower in a corner – but that ultimately led to him being blackballed by the entire damn league!
In early 2019, Kaepernick and former teammate Eric Reid settled a lawsuit against the NFL as they accused the league of “colluding to keep them out of employment” due to their pitch-side protestations. Both men received sizable payouts from the NFL, but where Reid managed to get back into the league, Kaepernick wasn’t able to.
Despite having lead his 49ers team to a Super Bowl, Kaepernick has been viewed as something of a hot potato by the NFL teams, and nobody has taken a punt on him. We thought for a moment that 2019 might be the year he would get back in the league, but his private workout didn’t exactly go as planned and nobody made the move.
What would Kaepernick mean for the XFL?
Now, with the XFL having begun and started with an absolute BOOM, it would have been great to see him back on the field. Given that he’s got his money from the NFL settlement, he’s got his money from the Nike ad campaign and says he wants nothing more than to play football – surely he can reduce those demands.
As XFL-commissioner Oliver Luck says, you can’t expect NFL level salaries from a league in it’s first season. Now, if he had been able to reduce those salary expectations and get himself out there on the field, it would have gone a long way towards helping the league get to the point where they could pay those big salaries.
As great as he was at the weekend, people aren’t tuning in to watch PJ Walker sling the rock around a half-empty stadium. They will, however, switch on and pay very close attention to a man like Colin Kaepernick playing on the field.
It’s amazing what his influence can do. People would watch to see him play, attendances would go up and crucially, more of the big name stars would want to follow suit and play in the XFL alongside Kaepernick – meaning the league might even be able to last more than a few seasons.
So, Colin, if for some reason you’ve woken up this morning and decided to Google your own name and found this, for the sake of all of us desperate for a decent Spring football league, lower those demands and JOIN THE XFL! It’s the logical thing to do…
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