The damage has already been done. In month nine of Colin Kaepernick being blacklisted from the NFL, it’s more apparent than ever that he’s not going to get back in with any team. Still, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell tried to schedule a one-on-one meeting with Kaepernick recently, according to ESPN and ABC News reports.
Kaepernick’s attorney Mark Geragos said his side “responded immediately that Colin would be happy to attend” but the meeting fell through because the league rejected a request for a mediator to be present, according to ABC News. A league spokesman told an ESPN reporter that NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent texted Kaepernick on Halloween. The text message was giving an update on the league’s ongoing discussions between its social issues leaders including Malcolm Jenkins and Anquan Boldin. The league spokesman said Vincent hadn’t heard back from Kaepernick. Geragos denied that his side hasn’t responded to Vincent.
Goodell is in a bad spot and is seeking out the classic PR-damage control now. After stating at an Arizona Cardinals season ticket holder Q&A session in April that the league has to understand and respect other people’s opinions, he’s most recently said that the league should move past protesting because fans come to the games for fun and not “to be protested to.”
Obviously, the commissioner cares more about the company he works for than the actual issues he’s talking about and it’s very understandable. After being scolded and shamed by the current White House Administration, Papa John’s and now being threatened to be sued by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones if he decides to sign an extension, Goodell needs to support the opinions of people who give him power, and the majority of those people appear to be against the protests.
Goodell and the NFL need to save face, for lack of a better term. Ratings have been down all season. Supporters of Kaepernick decided to boycott the league until the quarterback was signed shortly before the season began. Those against the national anthem protests decided to boycott the NFL after the President of the United States spoke out against it. Regardless of what is said during any meeting at any time or place, Kaepernick won’t ever be allowed in the NFL again. The effort to have a meeting is strictly to clean up the image of an underachieving business, which Kaepernick’s law team acknowledged.
“Because of the grievance, we asked that a mediator be present,” Geragos said about the meeting request, referring to the team’s lawsuit against the NFL. “A mediator also would ensure that the discussions were productive and confidential and not used as a PR stunt or prop by the league. Colin’s proposal was rejected.”
League spokesman Joe Lockhart issued a response to ESPN about Geragos’ statement.
“Mr. Geragos’ statement alone violates the collective bargaining agreement, breaking the confidentiality of the grievance process. So he can save his lecture on PR stunts. The invitation remains open,” Lockhart said, according to the report.
Not only does it appear that Kaepernick won’t be signed again, but also that the NFL’s image damage is now perhaps beyond repair for the near future.