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XFL Commissioner: We Talked To Kaepernick About Playing But His Rep Made ‘Exorbitant’ Demands

If Colin Kaepernick is so “ready” to get back in the game, why is he not in the XFL, the newly formed league that officially kicked off over the weekend?
Could it be “collusion,” as Kaepernick famously accused NFL owners of engaging in to keep his particular brand of activism off the field? After all, one of the XFL’s rules is that all players must stand for the national anthem  or else face “consequences.” According to the commissioner of the XFL, Kaepernick’s anthem protests aren’t the reason for his glaring absence. Rather, Kaepernick isn’t leading any of the new teams because of his “exorbitant” salary demands.
XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck made the claim during an interview with NPR’s Michael Martin on Saturday. Asked about the new league’s rule forbidding protests during the anthem, Luck explained that the XFL has “asked our players and we require our players to stand for the national anthem.” After Martin suggested that the league likely thinks the protests aren’t “fan-friendly,” he argued that “some fans do like seeing players express themselves politically.”
“Players have numerous opportunities to express themselves with all the platforms that exist today,” said Luck. “So, you know, standing for the national anthem we believe is a part of their responsibility as players in our league.”
Seeing that the commissioner wouldn’t budge on the issue, Martin asked Luck if he had any thoughts on Kaepernick.
“Great football player,” Luck responded, before asserting that he’s not going to talk about players outside their league because, he said, “we’ve got the best 500 or so players under contract who aren’t in the National Football League or in other professional leagues.”
Martin countered by asking why the XFL would not “distinguish” itself from the NFL “by offering an opportunity to somebody who has a track record as a great player, who has a lot of following.”
“We gave it some thought,” said Luck. “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.”
That prompted Martin to ask him point-blank: “Are you saying that you approached him or his representatives, and he wasn’t willing to talk to you because of salary requirements?”
“I’m saying that we spoke with his representative, and the salary requirements that were broached in that conversation were exorbitant and certainly out of our range,” said Luck.
Asked if the league would consider taking on Kaepernick if he were more “reasonable in his requirements,” Luck said, “I don’t know.”
“That was well over a year ago, so I don’t know what kind of shape, you know, Colin is in,” he said, adding that the newly formed league hasn’t “followed that because obviously, again, we want the best players who are interested in playing in our league.”

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