NFLPA president Eric Winston says the association has offered to help free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who remains unsigned with the season rapidly approaching

“We’ve been in contact with Colin’s representatives, and we’ve let them know that we’re there and ready to help with whatever they’d like – whether it’s just some guidance on PR or whatever,” Winston told Deadspin’s Dom Cosentino on Friday. “I know they’ve chosen to lay low, and I respect that. Every player has to make a decision on how they want the union’s help, and I completely understand that, and that’s fine.

“The union’s always stood ready to help him in any way that we need to. We will continue to monitor that situation, we’ll continue to do anything that we can to make sure that he has another opportunity to play. At the end of the day, that’s really it. We’re not going to force ourselves on a player. He’s calling the shots, he wants what he wants, and I respect that, and that’s what we’ll do.”

Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers on March 3 and hasn’t received much interest since. The Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens both publicly contemplated signing him, before electing for other options.

Winston agreed with the notion that Kaepernick is being blackballed, but said it’s hard to surmise the burden of proof.

“Of course. You definitely get that feeling – obviously, that’s very hard to prove and it’s very hard to show. But, at the same time, for Christ’s sakes, you have an owner out there publicly saying, ‘I’m polling fans to decide whether I should have this guy on my team or not.’ It’s obvious that owners are scared of it, are worried about it.

“That’s fine. I guess that’s their business or whatever. But it kind of seems a little ridiculous to me. To act like Colin isn’t one of the top – let’s just call it 64 quarterbacks in the world right now is even more disingenuous. The fact that he’s not on a team right now, I think, kind of speaks to that. It’s kind of pretty silly.”

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