By Michael Bennett
If you’re wondering why out-of-work quarterback Colin Kaepernick isn’t playing in the XFL, which debuted last weekend, riddle solved:
He wanted 40 times as much as the average XFL-er is making in salary:
XFL commissioner Oliver Luck told NPR the league did approach Kaepernick about suiting up but that a deal couldn’t be reached because the former NFL quarterback’s salary demands were “exorbitant.”
“We gave it some thought,” Luck told Michele Martin. “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 wanted $20 million to suit up for the XFL’s 10-game season, $2 million per game before taxes.
Given that the average XFL player is only earning $55,000 for putting themselves in harm’s way each week, it’s not much of a surprise the league was unwilling to break the bank for Kaepernick. His stance on kneeling during the anthem, which it outlawed in the XFL, probably didn’t help.
In a previous interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Luck called the former 49ers QB’s salary requirement “way out of our ballpark.”
“He was never really a viable option,” Luck told the publication.
Though Kaepernick or any other former NFL players of note weren’t part of its opening the weekend, the XFL actually got off to a reasonably good start as the rebooted league’s first game drew 3.3 million viewers on ABC.
Last year, the Alliance of American Football drew 2.9 million viewers for its first game but never drew nearly that many eyes again and was forced to shut down before its first season could be completed.