Roger Goodell encourages NFL teams to sign Colin Kaepernick

Welcome back, Colin?

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will support and encourage a team willing to sign quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who settled a collusion lawsuit against the league over claims teams were working together to keep him away because of his kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

“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 Monday during ESPN’s “The Return of Sports” special. “But I welcome that, support a club making that decision, and encourage them to do that.”

It’s part of a continued about-face by the NFL in the past few weeks, as Goodell condemned racism and police brutality and admitted a mistake in not listening to players sooner on concerns regarding social injustice in America. Kneeling protests often were misrepresented as anti-flag, with President Donald Trump banging the drum loudest.

Goodell declined comment when asked about Trump’s involvement with the NFL.

Colin KaepernickAP

The NFL committed $250 million over the next 10 years to help fight systemic racism in light of the protests around the country sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police.

“Our country was going through something where we were seeing these things that our players had highlighted, including Colin and so many others,” Goodell said. “What they were talking about, protesting and trying to bring attention to was playing out right in front of us tragically. It was difficult for all of us. That was an important point for us.”

Kaepernick, 32, had a NFL-organized tryout for NFL teams in 2019. He went unsigned as a free agent after the 2016 season, when he was 1-10 as a starter just three years after leading the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl.

“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 said.

“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 unfortunately been around for a long time. But I hope we’re at a point now where everybody’s committed to making long-term, sustainable change.”

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