Ray Lewis made some news in his Inside the NFL debut Tuesday night, suggesting the Baltimore Ravens were ready to sign free agentColin Kaepernick until the quarterback’s girlfriend sent an “offensive” tweet.
CBS Sports transcribed the exchange between Lewis and Judy Battista.
Judy Battista: “I’m startled that he has not been signed. I’ve been told ever since I’ve started covering the NFL that talent wins out. We’ve seen teams take chances on a lot of unsavory characters. The fact that this is what has tipped over and they can’t come to grips with signing a guy who has kneeled for the national anthem but you’ve signed guys that have enormous legal issues — and they’ve been embraced by teams and they’ve been embraced by fans — I find that curious.”
Ray Lewis: “When me and Steve Bisciotti were talking, this is what we were talking about, Judy. We were talking about giving this kid an opportunity to get back in the National Football League. Look, this is what I wanted to share with people. I have been fighting for this kid behind the table like nobody has … I’ve never been against Colin Kaepernick. But I am against the way he’s done it.
“Then, his girl [Colin Kaepernick’s girlfriend] goes out and put out this racist gesture and doesn’t know we are in the back office about to try to get this guy signed. Steve Bisciotti has said it himself, ‘How can you crucify Ray Lewis when Ray Lewis is the one calling for Colin Kaepernick?’ …
“When they (Ravens) called me, it was to say, ‘Yes or no?’ … We were going to close the deal to sign him … Steve Bisciotti said, ‘I want to hear Colin Kaeperkick speak to let me know that he wants to play football.’ … And it never happens because that picture comes up the next day. ”
Battista: “So, if not for that … tweet, you think he would be a Baltimore Raven?”
Lewis: “Then he’s flying him to Baltimore. I am sitting with all three of them and we are all having a conversation about bringing Colin Kaepernick in.”
The tweet in question is surely this photoshop, sent by Nessa Diab in early August splitscreen depicting Lewis hugging Ravens owner Steve Bisciottiand Samuel L. Jackson hugging Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained.
It’s easy to see why Lewis and Bisciotti weren’t thrilled to be presented in this light. Nessa was obviously not too pleased with Lewis’ unsolicited advice to her boyfriend a day earlier suggesting he tone down the activism.
Whether you accept Lewis’ claim without pause of find it dubious, the end result speaks for itself. Kaepernick remains unsigned. It could be because he’s not good enough. Or he could be blackballed. Or because his girlfriend sent a questionable tweet.
Here we are, days from the season opener and he’s still a free agent — and still a major story.