NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he still believes Colin Kaepernick will play in the league again, but he doesn’t know when or where and thinks each of the 32 teams’ personnel people can make that decision on their own.
Goodell said on FS1 that he thinks Kaepernick’s current unemployment is solely about teams deciding for themselves that he’s not the right fit, and not about blackballing him for protesting during the national anthem.
“I want to see everyone get an opportunity, including Colin, but those decisions are made by football people,” Goodell said. “When teams have a need and teams feel like they can get better by a particular individual, whether they know the system, or whether they have more talent, or whatever it may be, that’s what they do. And I’m still convinced that he’ll get that opportunity when the right opportunity comes along. That’s what our league’s all about.”
Asked if, based on Kaepernick’s play last season, Goodell thinks Kaepernick is good enough to play in the NFL this season, Goodell said that’s not for him to say.
“I’m not a football expert,” Goodell said. “I’m a huge fan. I have a role as commissioner also, but for me I watch the games and enjoy and I let the football people make those decisions. And the reality is there’s 32 different decisions, and multiple decisions within an organization, so there’s always a dispute. The idea of who can play, who can’t play, who’s best for our system and not best for our system, are decisions that should be made by those 32 teams.”
So while Goodell says he wants to see Kaepernick get an opportunity, he’s not giving the kind of full-throated endorsement from the league office that might motivate a team to give him that opportunity. Instead, Goodell is going to leave that decision to the football experts on the 32 teams, not the non-expert who runs the league.