Does Colin Kaepernick want to play in the NFL?
I ask knowing that only he can answer that question.
He was adamant about it after the comedy of errors that was his traveling roadshow "try-out" for NFL teams in Atlanta over the weekend.
He spoke passionately about wanting another chance, among other things.
But does he want to be an NFL quarterback, or does he want the platform that playing the most important position in the most popular game in America allows?
I ask this because of the debacle his much-ballyhooed and much-more-mishandled NFL tryout became.
There were mistakes by everyone.
It's more than fair to wonder how the NFL — a company comprised of billionaires that runs an operation generating tens of billions of dollars annually — botched this from the start by not having this buttoned up.
As for the much-debated 11th-hour "waiver" that Kaepernick was supposed to sign but refused, this issue again should have been worked out before this debacle developed beyond the discussion stage.
Kaepernick rightly says that signing the waiver could have negated future lawsuits. His fight for transparency in this is not only understandable, it's admirable.
But everyone who tries out — be it at the NFL combine or in a parking lot for a scout outside a Division III school in Backwater, Mississippi — has to sign the same waiver, in large part because it protects the league if the player is injured in the tryout.
Man, you can't go to most birthday parties these days without signing some kind of waiver, so the fact that this was a surprise is stunning.
Still, the question about whether Kaepernick really viewed this as a job interview for an NFL roster spot or a platform to stay relevant in his ongoing social protests seems clear.
This was not about throwing a 15-yard out as much as what teams could expect outside the huddle from Kaepernick.
The entire league had the same questions about Kaepernick heading into Saturday: Was he prepared to say the right things, and was he going to be able to go along and get along?
What do you think the resounding answer to that was this morning in NFL offices?
He showed up for the job interview wearing a Kunta Kinte T-shirt, which is not exactly the expected attire for your average job interview. He brought a Nike commercial filming crew — remember Nike paid Kaepernick millions as part of a protest-theme ad campaign — which reinforces the question about what the goal was here.
Afterward he defiantly blasted the league, its owners, its commissioners and just about every part of the organization.
Kaepernick and the NFL have a complicated and controversial history.
But his tactics are counterproductive on their face if Kaepernick is trying to convince us that he's angling to be a part of the NFL again.
That fact brings us back to the original question: Does Kaepernick want to be in the NFL? Because, short of actually playing the anthem and kneeling before the workout began, Saturday was arguably the worst possible way to conduct a job interview.
Contact Jay Greeson at firstname.lastname@example.org.