Trump says Colin Kaepernick should have another chance at NFL "if he has the ability to play"

Trump says Colin Kaepernick should have another chance at NFL “if he has the ability to play”

Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, has been a free agent for more than three years since he began kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police violence. Trump has long opposed athletes kneeling during the National Anthem and even referred to them as “sons of dogs” in a 2017 speech.

“The answer is absolutely that, as long as I’m on my knees, I would love to see him pull another, but obviously he has to be able to play well,” he continued. “If he can’t play well, I think he would be very unfair.”

His comments come as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told ESPN on Monday that he would support and encourage a team interested in signing Kaepernick.

“Well, listen, if he wants to start his NFL career again, then he’s obviously going to get a team to make that decision,” Goodell said. “But I welcome that, support a club that makes that decision and encourages them to do so.”

Discussions are coming as the nation has been hit by protests and talks over police brutality and racism following the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Brena Taylor in Louisville and Rizard Brooks in Atlanta.

Kaepernick has not played in the league since the 2016 season – the same season he sat for the first time during the National Anthem game. The protest turned to its knees as Seattle Seahawk and Green Beret Nate Boyer convinced Kaepernick that it would be more respectful of the nation’s army, the quarterback said.

He later accused the owners of the NFL team of collusion to prevent him from signing. The NFL has denied any involvement, but in 2019, they reached an agreement with Kaepernick and former teammate Eric Reid, who knelt with him.

Trump’s comments on Wednesday also follow the announcement by Home Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson earlier this week that he was urging the president to reconsider his position on the cling.

“Well, I don’t think he’s been so hostile in this area lately,” Carson, the only black member of the president’s cabinet, said in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. “And I think we’re still working on it. He’ll get there.”

Amir Vera and CNN’s Jill Martin contributed to the report.

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