President Donald Trump told WABC-TV on Wednesday that Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback who went unsigned after he regularly kneeled during the national anthem, should secure a spot on an NFL team if he can demonstrate that he can play.
“If he deserves it, he should. If he has the playing ability. He started off great, and then he didn’t end up very great in terms of as a player,” Trump told WABC TV.
“He was terrific in his rookie year and then I think he was very good in his second year and then I think something happened so his playing wasn’t up to snuff,” he said. “The answer is, absolutely I would. As far as kneeling I would love to see him get another shot but obviously he has to be able to play well. If he can’t play well, I think it would be very unfair.”
Scott Thuman, chief political correspondent for Sinclair Broadcast Group, posted a segment of the interview on Twitter.
— Scott Thuman (@ScottThuman) June 17, 2020
Prior to Trump’s new comments, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell encouraged teams to consider signing Kaepernick, who is a free agent, for the upcoming season.
“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 told ESPN. “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 help us, guide us, help us make better decisions about the kinds of things that need to be done in the communities,” said Goodell. “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 for a long time.”
After Kaepernick went three months as a free agent without getting signed in 2017, Goodell pushed back against claims that Kaepernick had been blackballed, calling the league a “meritocracy,” according to The Washington Post.
“So those are football decisions,” said Goodell. “They’re made all the time. I believe that if a football team feels that Colin Kaepernick, or any other player, is going to improve that team, they’re going to do it.”
Last November, the NFL organized a private workout for Kaepernick in Atlanta, but the quarterback did not receive any offers. However, Jordan Veasy, a wide receiver who participated in the workout, did secure a spot on the practice squad for the Washington Red Skins.
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