Free agent NFL quarterback and activist Colin Kaepernick compared the treatment of players at the NFL combine to slavery which has caused outrage. The comparison was made in the coming-of-age Netflix series following Kaepernick's high school years called "Colin in Black & White".
Speaking in the first episode, Kaepernick described how pro hopefuls are treated at the NFL combine, a four-day showcase where many prospects undergo physical and mental tests in front of football team coaches, executives, owners and scouts.
"Coaches will tell you they're looking for warriors, killers, beasts," he said. "They say they want you to be an animal out there. And you wanna give them that. ... What they don't want you to understand, is what's being established is a power dynamic."
"Before they put you on the field, teams poke, prod and examine you, searching for any defect that might affect your performance. No boundary respected, no dignity left intact," he added, as scenes from a slavery auction play out.
Activities at the annual event can include weightlifting, sprints, medical checks and reportedly "inappropriate questions" during in-person interviews. NFL teams also conduct background checks and interviews to gauge players' personality traits and Wonderlic tests to determine their intelligence level before deciding whether to commit millions of dollars.
Kaepernick received some heat for the slavery comparison as critics pointed out that the NFL combine is how teams can evaluate talent and is one step for many players en route to becoming millionaires.
Utah Rep. Burgess Owens, a former NFL safety who played for the Jets and Raiders, criticised Kaepernick on Twitter for comparing "the evil endured by so many of our ancestors to a bunch of millionaires who CHOSE to play the game”.