NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday that the league has “moved on” from former San Fransisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick after the player attended a special workout session in November to demonstrate his readiness to rejoin the league.
In 2016 Kaepernick, who played six seasons for the 49ers, kneeled during the playing of the national anthem because, as he said at the time, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” His stance was excoriated by President Trump.
“If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem,” Trump wrote on Twitter. It was later revealed Kaepernick had worn socks depicting police officers as pigs, sparking further backlash.
Kaepernick became a free agent in 2017, but no NFL team has signed him since. The special workout in November was meant to show that he is ready to play again.
The workout was initially scheduled to take place at the Atlanta Falcons’ training facility. However, Kaepernick moved the event to a local high school at the last minute after learning the media would not be permitted to attend the session in its original venue.
This was about creating an opportunity,” Goodell told reporters at an NFL meeting on Wednesday. “We created that opportunity. It was a unique opportunity, a credible opportunity and he chose not to take it. I understand that.”
Kaepernick has accused NFL teams of being afraid to hire him due to the potential political fallout. The former quarterback’s representatives said he moved the workout to a high school because the NFL did not conduct a “legitimate process” that would allow media observers.