XFL Commissioner explains why Kaepernick not in league

San Francisco 49ers Eric Reid and Colin Kaepernick take a knee during the National Anthem prior to their game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte North Carolina, Photo Date: 9/18/16
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By: Jeff Kerr | CBS Sports
February 10, 2020

The XFL gave Colin Kaepernick an opportunity to join the reincarnation of Vince McMahon's league. At the end of the day, Kaepernick's salary requirements were too high for the league to give him a commitment.

XFL commissioner Oliver Luck explained to National Public Radio why Kaepernick wasn't playing in the league on its opening weekend, as the league wanted him to star in the reboot of XFL 2.0.

"We gave it some thought," Luck said to NPR, via NBC Sports Bay Area. "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, you know, salary requirements that some folks, you know, shared with us were in our case exorbitant, so we, you know, 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."

Kaepernick reportedly had high salary demands for the Alliance of American Football last year, seeking $20 million or more (an average of $2 million per game). While it's unclear if that was his salary demand for the XFL, the league thought his asking price was too high and moved on.

Would the XFL consider Kaepernick if he chose to play at a lower rate? Luck appeared noncommittal toward the former NFL quarterback.

"I don't know," Luck said. "That was well over a year ago, so I don't know what kind of shape, you know, Colin is in. And, you know, we haven't followed that because obviously, again, we want the best players who are interested in playing in our league. That's, you know, pretty much a requisite for our job."

Kaepernick passed on an opportunity to work out in front of 25 NFL teams in November in an organized workout by the league, having his own workout an hour away from the Atlanta Falcons facility (which is where the originally scheduled workout was to be held).

Kaepernick's issue with the league resulted in the timing of the workout and the rules regarding the session. His camp had problems with the type of waiver the NFL requested and the NFL's alleged refusal to allow Kaepernick's camp to tape the workout, along with the NFL's alleged refusal to allow the media to record the session. At Kaepernick's public workout, many media members and fans gathered to watch Kaepernick work out for 40 minutes before he sent a message to the league regarding his status.

Of course this was after Kaepernick's salary demands for the AAF, which folded last April. Whether the XFL can afford Kaeperick or if Kaeperrnick would even entertain the league remains in question.



 
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