NFL Commissioner Goodell Asserts That Kaepernick Is Not Being Blackballed From League

The regular season of the National Football League is winding down, and there’s a whole host of interesting storylines to follow as teams continue to jockey for playoff position. It’s a great time of the year for football fans, but there’s still somewhat of a black cloud hanging over the league. The issue of the National Anthem protests remains unsolved, and some fans have completely tuned out of the games as a result.

The man that started it all, Colin Kaepernick, remains without a job, and some observers have taken that to be more than just a coincidence. Kaepernick himself has claimed that he’s been blackballed from the league, in spite of the fact that he’s had opportunities presented to him that ultimately didn’t pan out. As USA Today shares, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has indicated that there’s nothing to see here.

As Goodell sees it, "every club's got to make those decisions" when it comes to matters of personnel. While that may seem like an oversimplification of things, it’s still an incredibly valid point. Kaepernick had some opportunities in the offseason, but things didn’t work out for various reasons. As the season moves along, it becomes less and less likely that a club will bring someone into the fold when they have no guarantee that player will be a fit for their particular system.

At the height of his playing prowess, Kaepernick certainly brought a unique skill set to the table, but it’s not one that can easily translate into each and every scheme that’s employed by the various NFL coaches. As such, he’s simply not a good fit for a whole lot of teams, and the ones that he may be a good fit for would need the offseason to work with him. Barring injuries, the time for dramatic personnel changes is in the offseason, not in the heart of the regular season.

While there have been some injuries at the quarterback position this year, those injured players were replaced by their backups - i.e. those that are familiar with the system that’s being run by their team. How can Kaepernick be expected to come in and be more effective than those that have had an entire offseason to study up? He can’t be, and anyone that suggests he’s a plug and play option is allowing personal feelings to cloud their judgement.

As for whether or not Kaepernick is being specifically blackballed, Goodell offered up a more direct response.

"I don't agree with that," he said Goodell. "Again, I think our teams are making the best decisions for what they need as a football team."

He’s left the door open for Kaepernick to come in and chat about things - including the social justice issues that he’s said to be so passionate about - but he has yet to see the unemployed player on his doorstep.

"He's always welcome to come over and meet at any point in time. So we've had an open door on that. There were some meetings set up with the players' coalition, they were invited by the players' coalition,” Goodell continued. “My understanding is they extended the invitations in that circumstance. But he's always welcome to join that. The players' coalition is an entity that we've been working very closely with and frankly we've had unprecedented dialogue."

Source: USA Today
Photo: Mercury News, CNBC

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