Roger Goodell subtly changes position on why Colin Kaepernick isn’t signed


In the early days of Colin Kaepernick’s conspicuous unemployment, Commissioner Roger Goodell repeatedly shrugged at the development, reasoning that teams want to win and thus teams sign plays that will help them win and thus if a team hasn’t signed Kaepernick it’s because no team thinks Kaepernick will help them win. Nearly two years later — and after dozens of quarterbacks clearly inferior to Kaepernick have secured employment — Goodell has re-embraced that position.

Goodell, at his annual pre-Super Bowl press conference, defended Kaepernick’s lack of a team by saying that the teams decide who will be on their rosters and that “they all want to win, and they’re going to do whatever they can to win.”

It’s a subtle but clear shift away from the revised position that Goodell embraced after the Ravens flirted publicly in July 2017 with the prospect of signing Kaepernick.

At that time, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti admitted that the team considered non-football factors when deciding whether to pursue Kaepernick. Goodell, who was present for Bisciotti’s comments, had painted a difference picture as recently as June of 2017.

“[A]ll [teams] want to get better,” Goodell said in June 2017. “And if they see an opportunity to get better as a football team, they’re going to do it. They’re going to do whatever it takes to make their football team better. So those are football decisions. 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.”

In early August 2017 at a fan forum in Denver, after witnessing Bisciotti’s comments, Goodell shifted his explanation from the win-driven philosophy.

“Teams make decisions [based] on what’s in the best interest of their team . . .  and they make those decisions individually,” Goodell said.

So why is Goodell retreating to his position that teams will do whatever they have to do to win? Chances are that, during his deposition in Kaepernick’s collusion grievance, Goodell was forced to pick a lane, that he went with the “teams want to win” excuse, and that Goodell can’t change his position now that he’s been locked in under oath, especially with his eventual hearing testimony in Kaepernick’s full-blown collusion hearing still looming.

Meanwhile, more and more quarterbacks with skill sets inferior to Kaepernick continued after Goodell locked in to the “win” position to get opportunities to work out and play for teams, necessarily undercutting the notion that teams are making decisions based on a raw desire to win, making it arguably easier for Kaepernick’s lawyers to show that something else has motivated his unemployment.

Because of course it has. The only question is whether the unemployment based on reasons other than football was in any way coordinated by a league office that coincidentally may have been painting Kaepernick as being “bad for business” throughout 2017.

33 responses to “Roger Goodell subtly changes position on why Colin Kaepernick isn’t signed

  1. or maybe, Kaper isn’t as good as you are saying he is. if he was as good as you say, why was he benched for gabber? that was before the pouting that magically changed to protest after the fact. he like several other one-year wonders can’t/won’t change with the defenses thrown at them, after dcs study the first year film.

  2. niners816 is right if he could have held on to his starting QB status we would not be talking about this but he lost that to Gabbert and then he decided to sit down on the bench during the anthem, where at the time he belonged. It seems only real 49ers fans know why he did this.

  3. bootguy says:
    January 30, 2019 at 6:32 pm
    AGAIN no mention of the $ 7 Million offer from Elway that he TURNED DOWN !!

    Kaepernick was still on San Francisco’s roster when he declined Elway’s offer. The 49ers were willing to trade him to the Broncos, but Denver wanted to rework his contract before finalizing a deal. The team reportedly asked Kaepernick to take a pay cut that would drop his annual salary down to around $7 million. He declined the offer and remained on the 49ers, who paid him $12 million that season. It’s safe to say anyone in his position would have made the same

    let me guess….he should’ve been a good Boy right?

  4. Clearly not worth the money he would expect, which is starter money..

    And he is no starter in this league anymore

  5. 2016 Kaepernick had the 52nd best completion percentage in the league

    29th in yards
    30th in 1st downs
    30th in passes over 20 yards
    48th in Avg yards per completion

    He is just not that good to justify the headache to bring him aboard for anything more than veteran minimum. Which he would not sign for.

  6. Kaepernick isn’t that good. Is he better than the trash QBs around the league? Certainly some of them. But not so much better that it’s worth taking on a guy more concerned with social causes than he is with football. Football players, especially quarterbacks, need to be the possessed football junkies like Manning and Brady in order to be good at the craft.

    Piss off at least half your fanbase for a guy who’s delivering “social justice” instead of wins? No thanks. Keeping him out of the league is the smart business decision, no matter how people want to spin this as some kind of racist blackballing.

  7. Wow it’s amazing how people rewrite history because they disagree with the man’s politics. He was a decent quarterback and certainly better than half the pieces of junk on NFL rosters. Where teams are desperate for quarterbacks showing a pulse he certainly should have gotten a look. Let’s just be honest and say it was the politics and stop trying to demean the man’s credentials. How many have gotten their teams to the championship game?

  8. Of coarse teams have to think about the bottom line and PR plays heavily into that. What team would want to deal with his distraction? None. That’s exactly why it is collusion. But, you cant prove it. Kap got jobbed. Owners protected themselves. Kap knew this going in. He made his statemaent. I think it worked, he got our attention, but we dont listen for very long. Life goes on.

  9. At this point Kaepernick would be a HUGE distraction, which could have players/staff deal with a media onslaught and lose focus. That equates to not being sharp on game day and could impact the chance of winning.

    The math isn’t that difficult.

  10. It’s so simple I can’t believe it’s still a debate. He’s more than qualified/talented to be on an NFL roster however owners don’t want someone on their team that brings that much negative attention. It’s a business decision that’s made everyday in every part of the business world. If a company sees bringing in a certain person as being more negative than positive chances are they’re not going to hire that person. Now if all the owners got together and decided, as a group, not to offer him a contract then you have a problem. That’s collusion

  11. @footballpat I mean for arguments sake, mark sanchez took the jets to championship games in back to back seasons, Trent dilfer won the super bowl as a starter, Kerry Collins started in a super bowl, Rex grossman started a super bowl, plenty of not so good qbs have started a super bowl

  12. 32 teams and several years later Kaep still isn’t signed. There is one reason and only one. He isn’t good enough to put up with his selfish antics. I still think he’s just lazy and when caught not standing, he went with social injustice over I’m just lazy…

  13. @footballpat I mean for arguments sake, mark sanchez took the jets to championship games in back to back seasons, Trent dilfer won the super bowl as a starter, Kerry Collins started in a super bowl, Rex grossman started a super bowl, plenty of not so good qbs have started a super bowl

    Doesn’t that make the point, rather than argue it? Didn’t the Skins look at, and then sign, a guy on that not so good list? The time may have past where Kap deserves that look, but at one point he should have been on the short list and gotten calls, yet he never did.

  14. The distractions dealing with the locker room headaches or the media circus that ensues is more of a negative than what the player brings to the team. Remember when the Jets signed Tebow after Denver ran him out of town? Or when the Rams signed Michael Sam? How many coaches want to deal with hundreds of questions each day about a backup QB?

  15. If he loved the game he’d have gone to Canada or tried to get in on the AAF. He’s done neither. You need commitment out of your quarterback; talent alone doesn’t cut it. I actually agree with his politics but I wouldn’t sign him either if I’m an NFL GM. He needs to earn it like every other player.

  16. It will be interesting to see how much the “teams don’t want negative PR” argument holds up when someone signs Kareem Hunt.

    Look, we can pretend all we want that Kaep “isn’t good enough” for the NFL, but clearly that’s false. He was an NFL starter for several years – and the 49ers teams he was on declined sharply after Harbaugh was run out of town. You know, the QB can’t do everything.

    I will also raise the Tebow factor. Tebow got a look from several teams after Denver, but Kaep hasn’t. Tebow proves the lie that this has anything to do with talent.

  17. I don’t see a “subtle shift.” The statements’ meanings are identical, but that doesn’t refute the point he should be on a team. Can all the Blaine Gavbert people explain how Sanchez and Peterman were starters last year? Yeah, Kaep wasn’t playing great in the last season he played, but that 9ers team was hot garbage. The man has led a team to a Super Bowl and has a much better TD-INT ratio than the scrubs teams were signing when injuries were hitting. If you don’t like his politics, you shouldn’t champion him not having a job because of them, it’s kind of a fundamental right…

  18. No Tampabayblumpkin, it is NOT his right to have a job. Some people simply don’t grasp the 1st Amendment, specifically when it comes to using it against those of us who are happy our teams & the league is without Kaep.

    1) He has the right to say whatever he wants(as long as it does not incite violence of course). I have not seen anyone call for him to be deplatformed in any way.

    2)It is, again, NOT his right to have a job; it is any NFL Owners right not to give him one. A job is a privilege, not a right! There is a difference

    He may be better than several backup QBs out there, including some that got some playing time in this season. He is not nearly good enough to justify any team angering half of their fan base(at least) by signing him. If you owned a restaurant would you hire a head chef who was merely average & who puts out dishes a majority of your clientele dislikes? You would be a pretty inept Restaurant Owner in that case, am I right??

  19. * Meant to say nobody has called for him to be arrested OR deplatformed in any way*(I wish PFT would upgrade the comment section…like give us the ability to edit)

  20. Man you’re digging hard to try to keep this a story. He hasn’t played in years. No one, including you, knows if he is prepared to play football again. And as far as Goodell’s comments go, who cares? If you have to pick apart and analyze every subtle difference in comments made over several years by a commissioner, you’re trying too hard.

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