NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday that he would “support” and “encourage” an NFL team to sign Colin Kaepernick, despite saying in December that the league had “moved on” from the former 49ers quarterback.
“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, after he was criticized for not mentioning Kaepernick in a video address released on June 5 following the death of George Floyd. “But I welcome that, support a club making that decision and encourage them to do that.”
Speaking to ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, Goodell admitted that the NFL “should have listened to our players earlier.”
“I hope we’re at a point now where everybody’s committed to making long-term, sustainable change,” Goodell said. “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.”
Kaepernick, who launched a legal defense initiative for “freedom fighters” in the wake protests and riots in Minneapolis, appeared done with the NFL after sparring with league officials over a workout for scouts in November.
“This was about creating an opportunity,” Goodell told reporters at an NFL meeting in December. “We created that opportunity. It was a unique opportunity, a credible opportunity and he chose not to take it. I understand that.”
President Trump has repeatedly voiced his opposition to Kaepernick’s kneeling for the national anthem, and Kaepernick has yet to sign with a NFL team since becoming a free agent in 2017.