NFL

NFL commissioner wants QB Colin Kaepernick back in NFL

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is encouraging teams to sign quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who hasn't played the past three seasons. Kaepernick played for San Francisco in 2016 when he kneeled during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.

Roger Goodell encourages teams to sign leader of kneeling protests

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is encouraging teams to sign Colin Kaepernick, pictured, less than two weeks after he was criticized for not naming the quarterback in a video apology for not listening to concerns by players on racial inequality. (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/File)

Roger Goodell would like to see Colin Kaepernick back in the NFL this season.

The commissioner said during ESPN's "The Return of Sports" special on Monday that he is encouraging teams to sign the 32-year old quarterback, who hasn't played the past three seasons. Kaepernick was with the San Francisco 49ers in 2016 when he kneeled during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.

"If he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then obviously it's gonna take a team to make that decision. I welcome that, support a club making that decision and encourage them to do that," Goodell said during his interview with ESPN's Mike Greenberg.

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said last week he received a call from another team about Kaepernick. Carroll and the Seahawks brought in Kaepernick for a workout in 2017 and had another planned in 2018 before it was cancelled.

Goodell set up a tryout for Kaepernick in Atlanta last year for scouts of all 32 teams to attend, but it unraveled at the last moment due to lack of media access and what Kaepernick's representatives saw as an unusual liability waiver. Instead of the workout taking place at the Falcons' training complex, Kaepernick conducted an impromptu session at a high school in front of media and scouts from eight teams.

The NFL released a video on June 5 where Goodell apologized for the league for not doing a good job of listening to concerns by players on racial inequality. Goodell though was roundly criticized for the apology not mentioning Kaepernick.

WATCH | Roger Goodell admits league mistake for not listening to players: 

Commissioner Goodell says NFL was wrong for not listening to players fighting for equality

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says the league was wrong for not listening to players fighting for racial equality and encourages them to peacefully protest. 0:49

The video came out a day after many players released a video criticizing the league for not condemning racism following the May 25 death of George Floyd.

"We had spent time prior to that understanding all the frustration, fear and sadness. When the video came out on Thursday it was very powerful. It was appropriate for me to respond," Goodell said. "We should have listened to our players earlier including Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid, Kenny Stills, Michael Jenkins and so many people really brought these issues to light."

Atanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said Goodell's video was a great step in the right direction.

"We all need to be on the same page and address some of the uncomfortable things that need to be addressed," he said.

Goodell did not answer how the league would respond if President Donald Trump continued to criticize them if players kneeled for the national anthem. Goodell also said that he wants to include Kaepernick's voice on how the league should approach social issues.

"I hope we're at a point now where everybody's committed to making long-term, sustainable change," Goodell said. "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."

Goodell, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and MLS commissioner Don Garber acknowledged there will be positive tests once their sports return, but that they are hoping to isolate those as quickly as possible along with aggressive use of contact tracing.

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