Roger Goodell: Colin Kaepernick is not being blackballed by NFL
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday disputed the notion that Colin Kaepernick is being blackballed by the league and its owners.
“Each and every club’s got to make those decisions. … They make those decisions based on a lot of factors that are best for their football team,” Goodell said during an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” when asked if Kaepernick should be playing in the NFL. “And when they do that, that’s what’s in the best interest.”
The belief Kaepernick is being blackballed has generated considerable discussion within the NFL world, with the likes of Tom Brady, Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, Tony Romo, Michael Bennett, among countless others to weigh in on the polarizing issue.
Goodell also addressed the anthem controversy overall and its perceived impact on stadium attendance.
Goodell also claimed an openness to discussing issues that concern Kaepernick with unemployed quarterback directly.
“We’ve always invited Colin to come over,” Goodell said. “He’s welcome to come over and meet at any point and time. We had an open door on that. There was some meeting set up with the player’s coalition, and they were invited by the player’s coalition.”
Kaepernick has yet to find a job after opting out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers this past offseason. A widely held suspicion is that owners are reluctant to sign Kaepernick over potential backlash due to his social activism and how he was the harbinger of the controversial national anthem protest movement.
In the wake of his continued unemployment, Kaepernick filed a lawsuit alleging all 32 league owners have colluded to keep him out of the NFL.
Establishing league-wide collusion will be a difficult legal undertaking. However, Kaepernick’s attorney, Mark Geragos, said in October he had a “high degree of confidence” his client will prevail in the case. Geragos added a “smoking gun” exists to prove collusion.
Kaepernick has remained highly visual despite being out of the NFL, winning GQ Magazine’s “Citizen of the Year” in November and earlier this month was presented the SI Muhammad Ali Legacy Award by Beyonce at the 2017 Sportsperson of the Year Awards Show.