NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday that he hopes former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick will help “guide” the league on issues pertaining to social justice.
The commissioner also said during the interview with ESPN’s Mike Greenberg that he would “support” and “encourage” a team signing the controversial signal caller to its roster.
Kaepernick has not played in the league since 2016 when he was released by the 49ers following the season after losing his starting job to Blaine Gabbert. During that same season, he ignited controversy by kneeling during the national anthem at the start of games to protest racial injustice and police brutality in the United States.
“Well, listen, if he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then obviously it’s going to take a team to make that decision,” Goodell said. “But I welcome that, support a club making that decision and encourage them to do that.
“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 continued. “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.”
Roger Goodell encourages NFL teams to sign Colin Kaepernick | SportsCenter
Goodell appears to be toeing the line as favorability toward Kaepernick’s kneeling movement has jumped significantly since the death of George Floyd, who died after former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
A majority of Americans, 52%, now believe it is OK for NFL players to protest by kneeling during the anthem — up by nearly double since Kaepernick’s time in the league.
As protests and riots erupted across the country over Floyd’s death and Kaepernick’s kneeling movement gained support, Goodell looked to make amends with the black community.
Earlier this month, Goodell released a video apologizing for the NFL’s failure to listen to players regarding racial inequality.
“We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter,” Goodell said in the video. “I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country.”
However, according to ESPN, after the video was released, the commissioner was slammed for not mentioning Kaepernick by name.