Roger Goodell sees no proof that NFL teams are blackballing Colin Kaepernick
The NFL commissioner doesn't think the league is colluding against Colin Kaepernick
During a Rams fan event at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Thursday, Goodell was asked about the Kaepernick situation and he made one thing pretty clear: He doesn't think the quarterback is being blackballed.
Goodell's main point was that teams "all want to get better," so they'll all be looking to sign the best player available.
"If they see an opportunity to get better as a football team, they're going to do it," Goodell said, via ESPN.com. "They're going to do whatever it takes to make their football team better. So, those are football decisions. They're made all the time. I believe that if a football team feels that Colin Kaepernick, or any other player, is going to improve that team, they're going to do it."
Even if teams aren't blackballing Kaepernick, they're definitely taking his actions into consideration. Earlier this offseason, Giants co-owner John Mara said if the Giants signed Kaepernick.
When asked about that situation, Goodell brushed it off, saying that a bunch of letters from a bunch of fans aren't going to "affect" who a team signs.
"I don't think that's going to affect people from saying, 'I'm going to do what's in the best interest of my football team and give my team the best chance to win,' because that's what every team wants to do," Goodell said.
The commissioner also added that if fans were writing letters, that means they were talking about the situation, which is kind of what Kaepernick wanted, according to Goodell.
"It did spark conversation, which I think is a part of what Colin Kaepernick intended to do," Goodell said.
Kaepernick spent the 2016 seasons kneeling for the national anthem as a way to protest police brutality and racial injustice. The quarterback opted out of his contract with the 49ers on March 1, and has only taken one official visit during his three months of free agency. In that same period, several quarterbacks have signed free agent contracts, including Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Blaine Gabbert and Case Keenum.
Despite the fact that teams have been passing over Kaepernick for lesser quarterbacks, Goodell still argues that there's no blackballing going on. Goodell insisted that teams are going to sign the best possible players to fill their roster.
"Those are decisions that the 32 clubs are going to have to make individually," Goodell said of signing players. "They're going to give whatever player they think can help them win that opportunity. And I think that's what's great about the NFL is that we're a meritocracy, and you earn your opportunities and you get to keep your opportunities on the way you perform, ultimately. That's what the NFL is about. I think that's why fans love the game. People go out and they earn those opportunities, and it's a competitive league, which is great for us."
That being said, it will be interesting to see if Goodell changes his tune if Kaepernick is still unsigned when the regular season starts in September. Kaepernick is definitely one of the 64 best quarterbacks around, which theoretically means he should be able to find a job. If he can't find a job, it will be fascinating to see how Goodell potentially explains that away.
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