CHICAGO — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about the free-agent status of quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the idea that Kaepernick somehow is being blackballed by the collective membership of all 32 teams, and Goodell flatly rejected the idea.
“Each team makes individual decisions on how they can improve their team,” Goodell said. “If they see an opportunity to improve their team, I think they do it. They evaluate players, they evaluate systems and coaches. They all make those individual decisions to try and improve their team.”
Goodell is right, of course, and the idea that somehow all 32 teams were colluding to prevent Kaepernick in a collective effort is at best far-fetched. But that doesn’t mean some teams haven’t chosen to stay away or pursue other QB options with Kaepernick’s outspoken political statements and national anthem protest from the 2016 season.
It’s apparent Goodell doesn’t feel the need to step in on the matter or speak to teams about their stances on the former Super Bowl quarterback, even though the NFL has taken heat from some circles about the fact that a talented player remains unemployed over what partially could be related to his very public stance last year.
Goodell says he’s open to speaking with Kaepernick himself but that they have not talked since his first protest last August.
“I wouldn’t be opposed to speaking to him, but I haven’t,” Goodell said. “It’s certainly something I could do, but it’s not something I’ve thought about.”
So if Kaepernick wants to pick up the phone to chat with the commissioner of the league he appears to want to be back in with, the quarterback apparently will have to be the one doing the dialing. And even that might get him straight through to voicemail.
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