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Ray Lewis: Ravens were ready to sign Colin Kaepernick until 'racist gesture' by girlfriend

An unflattering tweet from the girlfriend of Colin Kaepernick was behind the Ravens’ decision to not sign the controversial free-agent quarterback, Ray Lewis said Tuesday night on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL.”

The Aug. 2 post by radio host Nessa Diab compared Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti and Lewis, a longtime face of the franchise, to characters from "Django Unchained": Leonardo DiCaprio's cruel plantation owner and Samuel L. Jackson's loyal house slave, respectively.

Lewis, who the day before Diab’s tweet had posted a video to Twitter in which he urged Kaepernick to “Get back on the football field and let your play speak for itself,” said Bisciotti and the Ravens were discussing giving the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback “an opportunity.” At the time, with starter Joe Flacco injured, the team’s quarterback play in training camp was lacking.

“I have been fighting for this kid behind the table like nobody has,” Lewis said on “Inside the NFL.” “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 [the 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.”

Asked by NFL Network’s Judy Battista whether that tweet kept Kaepernick from signing with the Ravens, Lewis said: “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 Ravens have disputed an ESPN report that Bisciotti resisted signing Kaepernick despite a preference from general manager Ozzie Newsome and coach John Harbaugh to do so. The Ravens did not respond Tuesday night to an email asking for comment on Lewis’ statements.

At a news conference Wednesday, Harbaugh said he's way past the Kaepernick story.

"We have two healthy quarterbacks and we're ready to roll,” Harbaugh said.

Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem last season, which he said was to protest racial injustice, has gained public support in recent weeks from NFL stars like Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton. A long list of players this preseason knelt, sat or demonstrated in some way during the national anthem.

Reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.

jshaffer@baltsun.com

twitter.com/jonas_shaffer

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