Just after the NFL introduced its new and grotesquely vague anthem policy, Yahoo Sports reported that the league hired a Washington consulting firm to poll Americans about whether they believed Colin Kaepernick should’ve been signed by an NFL team. The study, which was conducted four months into Kaepernick’s 2017 free agency by the Glover Park Group, surveyed fans about a number of contentious issues across the league—domestic violence, gambling, player protests, and player safety—but Kaepernick was the only player identified by name in the questions:
According to sources, the NFL approved research that sought two pieces of information: Whether Americans believed Kaepernick should have been signed by an NFL team; and given that Kaepernick remained a free agent, whether fans believed that was because he refused to stand for the national anthem or due to his on-field performance or other reasons.
Yahoo’s sources declined to provide specific data beyond that the results, stunningly, confirmed long-held biases about the current state of America and reflected “deep racial, political, and generational division” when it came to attitudes toward player protests. It’s unclear if the data was distributed to owners or other team officials who could have signed Kaepernick.
Paired with the recent report that Kaepernick was viewed as a starting quarterback by multiple NFL teams last offseason, the polling could provide a boon to his ongoing collusion case against the league. This was never about football.