Roger Goodell has apologized for the league’s inability to initially absorb the message from its players from player protests during the national anthem since 2016. Goodell has said he would encourage teams within the NFL to sign Colin Kaepernick after a four-year absence as he was cast aside by the league’s teams following his decision to protest that started the movement.
Star NBA player LeBron James believes there’s an apology that has yet to be given that needs to be by the NFL.
In an interview with Jason Kelly of Bloomberg Businessweek, James said Kaepernick himself deserves a direct apology from the league.
“As far as the NFL, I’m not in those locker rooms, I’m not with those guys, but I do understand that an apology — I have not heard a true, official apology to Colin Kaepernick on what he was going through and what he was trying to tell the NFL and tell the world about why he was kneeling when he was doing that as a San Francisco 49er. I just see that to still be wrong. Now they are listening some, but I still think we have not heard that official apology to a man who basically sacrificed everything for the better of this world,” James said.
The comment came as James was asked about himself and other NBA players wearing “I can’t breathe” shirts during warmups following the killing of Eric Garner by police in 2014 and the ability of basketball players to be vocal about causes in the NBA.
“One thing I can speak for is what I’m apart of,” James said. “I’m a part of a league with a great commissioner in Adam Silver and he’s always listened to the voices of his players and I’ve always respected him for that. He’s given us an opportunity that when we feel something that’s very wrong with society, that’s very wrong with what’s going on in our communities, that we can speak upon that and use the NBA’s shield to back us and I have nothing but respect for Adam Silver.”
Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month, the NFL – after some direct pressure from some of its brightest young, black stars – ramped up their support against police brutality and systemic racism. Those were the same messages that Kaepernick was making his protest during the national anthem toward with the 49ers in 2016.
There could be some legal reasons for the NFL not to directly apologize to Kaepernick. In theory, it could go toward an argument that the league is admitting it did its best to keep him without a job ever since he was released by the 49ers following the 2016 season. That’s the case Kaepernick made when he sued the league for collusion in a case that was settled last year.
The NFL now appears to be championing the same message that got Kaepernick tossed aside. That’s what makes James think Kaepernick is due an apology.