Donald Trump has been a vocal critic of Colin Kaepernick and his #TakeaKnee protest against police brutality; however, the president says he would "love" to see the free agent quarterback return to the NFL... but only if he was deemed "good enough."
"Only if he's good enough," Trump told reporters Friday, when asked if the ex-49er should get an opportunity to play in the league. "Why wouldn’t he play if he was good enough? I think if he’s good enough, I know the owners—I know (Patriots owner Robert) Kraft, I know so many of the owners—if he’s good enough, they’d sign him [...] I know these people. They would sign him in a heartbeat. They will do anything they can to win games."
He continued: "So I’d like to see it. Frankly, I’d love to see Kaepernick come in, if he’s good enough. But I don’t want to see him come in because somebody thinks it’s a good PR move. If he’s good enough, he would be in."
Trump's comments arrive just days after Kaepernick posted a video of his rigorous workout regimen. "5am. 5 days a week. For 3 years. Still Ready," he captioned the clip, implying he is more than prepared to step back on the field. The video also notes that Kaepernick has been "denied work for 889 days," the amount of time since he opted out of his contract with San Francisco. Since then, no other NFL team has offered him a contract.
Kaepernick sparked controversy during the 2016 season, when he began protesting police brutality by kneeling during the pre-game national anthem. Trump criticized Kaepernick, as well as other athletes who participated in the demonstrations, as "unpatriotic." He also suggested NFL owners fire any player who refused to stand during the anthem.
"Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when someone disrespects our flags to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now! Out. He’s fired! He’s fired!'" he said during a 2017 rally in Alabama.
In October 2017, Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL, claiming the owners had colluded to keep him out of the league. The parties reached a settlement agreement earlier this year.