National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell says he would welcome a team signing quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“Well, listen, if he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then obviously it’s gonna take a team to make that decision,” Goodell told Mike Greenberg of ESPN on Monday. “But I welcome that, support a club making that decision, and encourage them to do that.”
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback has been a free agent since 2017. He launched a movement of players taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice, issues now at the center of public discourse as protests continue across the United States following George Floyd’s death.
“If his efforts are not on the field but continuing to work in this space, we welcome him to that table and to help us, guide us, help us make better decisions about the kinds of things that need to be done in the communities,” Goodell said. “We have invited him in before, and we want to make sure that everybody’s welcome at that table and trying to help us deal with some very complex, difficult issues that have been around for a long time.”
“But I hope we’re at a point now where everybody’s committed to making long-term, sustainable change,” the commissioner added.
Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll revealed last week that he had received a call about Kaepernick, hinting that the former player might have a future in the NFL.
“I got a phone call today asking and inquiring about the situation,” he said last Thursday. “I know somebody is interested, so we’ll see what happens with that.”
Although frequently condemned by President Trump and others, the practice of kneeling during the anthem has gained some support given the current social movement. Goodell apologized for the league’s opposition to the demonstrations earlier this month.
“We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe Black Lives Matter,” he said in a video statement. “I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country.”
Protests began after Floyd, an unarmed black man, was filmed being pinned to the ground by a white police officer for nearly nine minutes last month. Floyd died in police custody, and all four officers involved in his arrest now face criminal charges. Demonstrations have been held for weeks calling attention to systemic racism and police brutality.
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