The Commissioner is on the record regarding Colin Kaepernick.
Ten days after creating a video that proclaimed “black lives matter” but omitted Kaepernick’s name, Roger Goodell has said that he wants a team to sign Kaepernick.
“Well, 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 Mike Greenberg of 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. 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.
“But I hope we’re at a point now where everybody’s committed to making long-term, sustainable change.”
As we’ve said in the past, on multiple occasions, if Goodell and the NFL truly want Kaepernick back in the league, there are ways to make it happen. The Rams, as the reporting went, were nudged by the league in 2014 to select Michael Sam, the first openly gay player in the draft pool. Then, after the Rams cut Sam, Goodell reportedly called around to persuade someone to put Sam on a practice squad. The Cowboys eventually did.
Backroom deals get made all the time in the NFL. Teams always want something, from a Super Bowl to a draft to anything and everything else that the league office has the authority and discretion to dispense. If the league office wants Kaepernick on a team, the league office can make it happen, quickly.
Here, the league really shouldn’t have to work that hard. Things have changed since teams cowered to their fan bases and/or the Tweeter-in-Chief in 2017. Signing Kaepernick now likely would lead to a net gain, from jersey sales to ticket sales to the creation of a national following. Over the years, plenty of teams have volunteered to do Hard Knocks in order to create a national presence. That doesn’t work. Signing Kaepernick would.
It seems like it’s just a matter of time until someone figures it out. And if the league office does just a little more than publicly encourage all teams generally to sign Kaepernick by focusing on privately coaxing one to do it, that could be the thing that seals the deal.