June 16, 2020 / 12:55 AM / 22 days ago

Goodell says he would 'support' signing Kaepernick, seeks input on social justice

FILE PHOTO: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell addresses the Economic Club of New York luncheon in Manhattan, New York, U.S., January 23, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he would “encourage” teams to sign Colin Kaepernick, adding that the league would also welcome the quarterback’s off-the-field guidance on social justice.

Kaepernick, whose kneeling protests sparked debate and became a symbol of the fight against racial injustice, filed a grievance against the NFL in 2017, claiming collusion as no teams signed him after he parted ways with the San Francisco 49ers. He and the NFL settled in 2019.

"If he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then obviously it's gonna take a team to make that decision," Goodell said on Monday during ESPN's "The Return of Sports" special here. "I welcome that, support a club making that decision, and encourage them to do that."

Kaepernick’s protest during the customary pre-game airing of the national anthem during the 2016 season came under renewed focus in the United States in recent weeks, as protests against racial injustice and police brutality spread across the country after the death of George Floyd.

Current and former players, including Hall of Famer Terrell Owens and two-time Super Bowl winner Malcolm Jenkins, have called on the league to apologize to Kaepernick.

Goodell said in a video earlier this month the NFL was “wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier” on the topic of peaceful protests, but did not mention Kaepernick specifically.

“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,” Goodell said Monday.

Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Lincoln Feast.

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