After four years of rotting on the sidelines of the sport he loves, Colin Kaepernick is now welcomed to return to the NFL.
This declaration came from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. He said if a team picks Kaepernick to be the quarterback of their team, the commissioner would “welcome” him back into the fold.
This represents a 180-degree turn for Goodell and the owners, who allegedly conspired to keep Kaep out of the league for peacefully protesting. Beginning in 2016, Kaepernick took a knee as a symbolic gesture to oppose police brutality and racial injustice in America. He was excoriated by mainstream America and exiled from the NFL. He has not played a down in the league since.
In Feb. 2019 Kaepernick and fellow star Eric Reid reached a confidential settlement for millions. The settlement stemmed from a grievance filed against the NFL, which alleged the league colluded to keep him out of the game.
Goodell told ESPN that if Kaepernick still has the skills to be in the league and a team picks him up, he’d “welcome” it.
“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 told ESPN. “But I welcome that, support a club making that decision and encourage them to do that.”
Suddenly, Goodell and the NFL are asking players to speak up and to condemn racism in all of its nefarious forms. Goodell also admitted the NFL mishandled peaceful protests initially. But when Goodell failed to mention Kaepernick by name, he was rebuked severely by the league’s star players and fans.
This time, on June 15, Goodell finally included Kaepernick’s name in his evolving and more supportive stance on players advocating for social justice.
“If his efforts are not on the field but continuing to work in this space, we welcome (him) to that table and to be able to help us, and guide us, help us make better decisions about the kinds of things that need to be done in communities,” Goodell said to ESPN.
“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 unfortunately for a long time,” Goodell added. “But I hope we’re at a point now where everybody’s committed to making long-term, sustainable change.”
Please flip the page to view Goodell’s comments in its totality.