Colin Kaepernick Reportedly Agrees to Attend Meeting of NFL Players, Owners

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 26, 2017

FILE - This Jan. 1, 2017, file photo shows then San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick speaking at a news conference after the team's NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Santa Clara, Calif. NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart says the league expects Colin Kaepernick to be invited to the next meeting between owners and players to discuss social justice initiatives. Lockhart adds that the meeting probably will take place next week. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Colin Kaepernick has reportedly agreed to attend a meeting between a group of NFL players and the league's owners next week, according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, as the two sides "continue talks about the league's engagement in social activism efforts."

"We look forward to him joining the conversation," NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart noted Wednesday.

Kaepernick's attendance will come amid his lawsuit against the NFL alleging collusion. Kaepernick, a free agent, has remained unsigned, though a collusion case will require Kaepernick's legal team proving two or more teams conspired to keep the quarterback out of the league.

But the players believe Kaepernick "is an important voice in their efforts, which have sought to have larger league involvement in a platform promoting racial equality and judicial reform."

Kaepernick was at the forefront of the protest and demonstrations players have undertaken during the national anthem this season. Kaepernick began sitting during the anthem during the 2016 preseason to protest police brutality and racial injustice in the United States. He ultimately switched to kneeling during the anthem out of respect to the military after heeding the advice of former NFL player and Green Beret Nate Boyer.

Other players followed his lead, creating a national controversy in the process between those who felt the gesture was disrespectful and those who maintained that NFL players were simply exercising their First Amendment rights. The debate took on new life when President Donald Trump said that any player kneeling during the anthem should be kicked off the field or fired during the 2017 season.

While the NFL hasn't changed its policy on the anthem—players are encouraged to stand during its playing but aren't required to do so—the league and players have continued meeting in an effort to seek solutions regarding the divisive situation.

Part of that has become financial. As Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones noted, "There is no question the league is suffering negative effects from these protests," per Robinson.

Kaepernick was reportedly invited by the players to meet with the owners during the league meetings, as Robinson noted, but didn't attend due to uncertainty over whether the NFL and owners wanted him in attendance.