Trump says Colin Kaepernick should be given another chance in the NFL ‘if he has the ability to play’

Kaepernick, a former San Francisco 49ers striker, was a free agent more than three years after he began kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality. Trump has long opposed athletes who knelt during the National Anthem, and even called them “sons of bitches” in a 2017 speech.

“The answer is absolute. I’d love to see him kneel shot one more time, but he obviously has to be able to play well,” he continued. “If he can’t play well, I think that would be unfair.”

His comments come after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told ESPN on Monday that he would support and encourage a team interested in signing Kaepernick.

“Well, listen, if he wants to pursue a career in the NFL, then he’s obviously going to need a team to make that decision,” Goodell said. “But I welcome that, support the club in making that decision and encourage them to do so.”

The debates come as the state is gripped by protests and talks about police brutality and racism following the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonne Taylor in Louisville and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, at the hands of police.

Kaepernick has not played in the league since the 2016 season – the same season in which he first sat while playing the National Anthem. The protest grew to its knees after the former Seattle Seahawk and Green Beret Nate Boyer assured Kaepernick that it would be a tribute to the National Army.

He later accused the owners of the NFL team of colluding to prevent him from signing. The NFL rejected any scams, but in 2019 they reached a settlement with Kaepernick and former teammate Eric Reid, who knelt with him.

Trump’s comments arrive Wednesday after Housing and Urban Development Minister Dr. Ben Carson said earlier this week that he was urging the president to reconsider his stance on gambling.

“Well, I don’t think there’s been that much hostility in that region lately,” Carson, the only black member of the president’s cabinet, said during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. “And I think we’re just continuing with him. He’ll get there.”

CNN’s Amir Vera and Jill Martin contributed to this report.

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