During a conversation that was aired Monday during ESPN's The Return of Sports special, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told that network's Mike Greenberg that he was in favor of Colin Kaepernick being signed by a team, and that he encouraged whichever club was interested in doing that to just go ahead and do it. Whether he actually means what he's saying, and whether any team would still have any interest in a quarterback who hasn't played in several years (Kaepernick last played during the 2016 season) remain obstacles, but the focus for the purpose of this write-up is on the quote.
"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 said of Kaepernick. "But I welcome that, support a club making that decision, and encourage them to do that."
Goodell continued on by saying that, if Kaepernick isn't involved with the league in a playing capacity, that he would be welcome to join the league in some other role.
"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," he continued. "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."
These most recent comments come shortly after the commissioner released a video in which he apologized on behalf of the league for not listening to their own players more on the subject of racial inequality. After that apology was made, Goodell was criticized for not specifically naming Kaepernick.
Fast forward to Monday's interview where Goodell praised players, including Kaepernick, for raising those issues.
"What they were talking about, and what they were protesting, and what they were trying to bring attention to, was playing out right in front of us - and tragically," Goodell said on the topic of why the NFL is now speaking on this subject. "And so all of us saw that, and it was difficult for all of us. And so that was an important point for all of us."
In related news, a new Harris Poll claims that 61% of Americans think that Goodell should apologize to Kaepernick, according to Forbes.
"So positive tests are going to happen," he said. "The issue is, can we obviously prevent as many of those from happening - but in addition, treat them quickly, isolate them and prevent them from directly impacting our player personnel."