During a press conference, Goodell was asked why the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback and activist hasn’t been signed to an NFL team in nearly two years.
Nothing fishy going on here, the commissioner essentially replied.
“I think if a team decides that Colin Kaepernick, or any other player, can help their team win, that’s what they’ll do,” Goodell said, according to a video posted by Atlanta-based channel 11Alive. “They want to win and they make those decisions individually, to the best interest of their club.”
In another clip, posted by TMZ Sports, CBS Sports reporter Jason La Canfora asked Goodell how he thinks history will look at the NFL’s handling of Kaepernick’s activism.
“I’ve said it many times, privately, publicly, that our clubs are the ones that make decisions on players that they want to have on their roster,” Goodell responded without really responding. “They make that individually, they make that in the best interest of their team. And that’s something that we as the NFL take pride in.”
Many on social media criticized Goodell for sidestepping the allegations that Kaepernick has been blackballed from the NFL for kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice.
Kaepernick sparked a wave of similar protests by other NFL players in 2016 by first sitting and then kneeling during the anthem. He became a free agent after the 2016 season and has not been signed to an NFL team since.
“This is what you say when a former Super Bowl QB is blackballed because of his political beliefs,” columnist Mike Lupica wrote on Twitter. “Nice commissionering, commissioner.”