NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he would “welcome” quarterback Colin Kaepernick into the league and encourages teams to consider signing him.
In an ESPN special featuring the commissioners of every major sports league, Goodell was asked about Kaepernick, who has been out of the league since the end of the 2016 season, in light of recent momentum for racial justice issues Kaepernick supports.
Earlier this month, Goodell recorded a video saying that the NFL believes black lives matter and apologizing for not taking earlier player protests seriously. But he was criticized for not mentioning or apologizing to Kaepernick by name.
“Listen, if he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then obviously it’s gonna take a team to make that decision,” Goodell told ESPN’s Mike Greenberg. “But I welcome that, support a club making that decision and encourage them to do that.
“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, guide us, help us make better decisions about the kinds of things that need to be done in the communities. 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 been around unfortunately for a long time.”
Kaepernick and Eric Reid filed grievances against the NFL alleging collusion to keep them unsigned after they began kneeling for the national anthem in protest of police brutality. The league settled with them, reportedly for less than $10 million.
In November 2019, the NFL arranged a private free-agent workout for Kaepernick in Atlanta, but it fell apart when Kaepernick was denied a request for media members to attend the workout and then moved it to an alternate location.