Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick recently made his pitch to return to football, via an exhilarating training montage video. The vocal activist for social justice reform claimed “he’s ready” to play. But is the league ready for Kaepernick? President Donald Trump doesn’t think so.
President Trump, who has been very critical of Kaepernick in the past, spoke with reporters outside the White House Friday and commented on the quarterback’s possible return to the NFL. The businessman-turned-politician made it crystal clear that Kaepernick should only get another chance if the 31-year-old is “good enough.” Trump went on to add that he remains friends with many NFL owners, including Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and he opined if they thought Kaepernick could help their team, they would definitely sign him to a contract, as USA Today revealed.
“Only if he’s good enough,” Trump told reporters Friday outside the White House. “If he was good enough, they’d hire him. Why wouldn’t he play if he was good enough? I think if he’s good enough, I know the owners — I know [Patriots owner Robert] Kraft, I know so many of the owners — if he’s good enough, they’d sign him. I know these people. They would sign him in a heartbeat. They would do anything they can to win games.”
Trump has been bullish on Kaepernick before, but this time he offered that he actually would “like to see” the controversial quarterback return.
“So I’d like to see it. Frankly, I’d love to see Kaepernick come in, if he’s good enough,” Trump said. “But I don’t want to see him come in because somebody thinks it’s a good PR move. If he’s good enough, he would be in.”
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Kaepernick Makes Pitch for NFL Return
Kaepernick put the internet — and the entire football world — on notice Wednesday when he posted a video on social media. In it, he stated he had been denied work for “889 days” and proved he was still in great shape by showing an intense workout regimen which included him lifting weights, doing pullups and pulldowns and stretching with headphones on. Kaepernick starts his workouts at 5 a.m. and does them five days a week, per his post.
Kaepernick, of course, sued the NFL for collusion and won after teams refused to sign the free agent following the controversy surrounding his decision to kneel during the playing of the national anthem. The 49ers threatened to release the quarterback in 2017, but Kaepernick chose to opt-out of his contract instead. San Francisco general manager John Lynch later confirmed (via Pro Football Talk) that the 49ers had intended to part ways with him either way.
“I think we’ve been very upfront with it. Yes, he was not going to be here under the construct of his contract,” Lynch said. “We gave him the option, ‘You can opt out, we can release you, whatever.’ And he chose to opt-out, but that was just a formality.”
Trump Told Kaepernick to ‘Find Another Country’
There has been no love lost between President Trump and Kaepernick dating back to Trump’s days as a Republican presidential candidate in 2016. Trump ran on a political platform that emphasized American nationalism and appealed to his base over every issue involving patriotism. It was his feeling that Kaepernick had disrespected the country and the American flag by refusing to stand during the playing of the national anthem.
In a 2016 interview with The Dori Monson Show, Trump stated that what Kaepernick had done was a “terrible thing” and he should “find a country that works better for him.” Strong words that were met with heated backlash from those trying to fight racial and social injustice in the United States.
“I have followed it and I think it’s personally not a good thing. I think it’s a terrible thing, and you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him, let him try, it’s not gonna happen,” Trump said in 2016, via Buzzfeed.
For his part, Kaepernick stood his ground on the controversial issue. He held an 18-minute long media session in the 49ers locker room and vehemently defended his stance and refused to stand up for the playing of the national anthem, as NFL Network’s Steve Wyche revealed.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said in 2016. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”