The 2017 NFL season gets underway in just a few hours and Colin Kaepernick remains out of work. Depending on who you ask, it's because he's being blackballed for kneeling during the national anthem last year to protest social injustice, or due to the fact that he just hasn't been a very good quarterback in recent years.
"I want to see everyone get an opportunity, including Colin, but those decisions are made by football people," Goodell said during an appearance on FS1, via PFT. "When teams have a need and teams feel like they can get better by a particular individual, whether they know the system, or whether they have more talent, or whatever it may be, that's what they do. And I'm still convinced that he'll get that opportunity when the right opportunity comes along. That's what our league's all about."
So is Kaepernick still good enough to play in the NFL?
"I'm not a football expert," Goodell continued. "I'm a huge fan. I have a role as commissioner also, but for me I watch the games and enjoy and I let the football people make those decisions. And the reality is there's 32 different decisions, and multiple decisions within an organization, so there's always a dispute. The idea of who can play, who can't play, who's best for our system and not best for our system, are decisions that should be made by those 32 teams."
"I think he should be on a roster right now. I think because of his protests, he's not," Rodgers told ESPN The Magazine's Mina Kimes.
And days before Rodgers' remarks, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said during an appearance on "Real Time with Bill Maher" that NFL owners "have colluded" to keep Kaepernick from playing.
"They have decided not to have him play and he should have the right to play and express himself at the same time," he told Maher, adding later, "He's not burning the flag, he's not hustling drugs to teammates, he's not shooting people with guns."
"All my years being in the league, I never received more emotional mail from people than I did about that issue," Mara told TheMMQB.com's Jenny Vrentas at the time. "If any of your players ever do that, we are never coming to another Giants game. It wasn't one or two letters. It was a lot. It's an emotional, emotional issue for a lot of people, more so than any other issue I've run into."
And in early August, after the Ravens considered signing Kaepernick, team owner Steve Bisciotti said that he had been asked by a fan about Kaepernick hurting the organization's brand. Bisciotti said that he has reached out to former players, including Ray Lewis, for their thoughts.
"We're sensitive to [what signing Kaepernick might mean]," the owner said. "We're monitoring it, and we're trying to figure out what's the right tact. So pray for us."
Bisciotti added that he didn't like Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem last season, and he isn't convinced that adding Kaepernick to the roster makes the Ravens a better team.
Kaepernick, who played for the 49ers from 2011-16, began last season on the bench behind Blaine Gabbert, but was reinserted into the starting lineup in mid-October. When it was over, he had started 11 games and completed 59.2 percent of his passes with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. He also rushed 69 times for 468 yards and two scores. But according to Football Outsiders' metrics, Kaepernick ranked 30th among all quarterbacks, just ahead of Case Keenum, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brock Osweiler and Jared Goff.