Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made the decision a few years ago to kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice in the United States, with a handful of other players following suit.
While the decision couldn’t have been easy, Kaepernick decided to take a stand for something he was passionate about, and it ultimately may have cost him his career as no team has attempted to sign him since.
With the killing of George Floyd and recent events that have transpired though, those that originally didn’t support Kaepernick’s cause have realized that he is advocating for positive, much-needed and long-overdue changes in the country.
The Las Vegas Raiders and all other NFL teams, as well as the league itself, have come out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in hopes of ending racial injustice. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell even went as far as to say that he supports a team signing Kaepernick, who is still just 32 years of age, if they choose to do so.
Raiders owner Mark Davis was asked about that in an interview with Paul Gutierrez of ESPN, and he said that he has given the front office his blessing to sign Kaepernick if they want since 2017:
Just spoke w/#Raiders owner Mark Davis, who said team employees have a “company-paid day off on Juneteenth.” Also asked about @Kaepernick7, Davis said, “Since 2017, I’ve told the coaches and general managers that if they want to hire Colin Kaepernick, they have my blessing.”
— Paul Gutierrez (@PGutierrezESPN) June 17, 2020
First off, it is good to see Davis giving his employees the day off on Juneteenth as many other organizations are doing as well.
But in regards to Kaepernick, it is hard to envision the Raiders signing him this offseason considering they already have three quarterbacks on the roster in Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota and Nathan Peterman. The organization handed Mariota a two-year contract this offseason to be Carr’s primary backup.
Vic Tafur of The Athletic put out a report with some more clarity on the situation, saying that neither of the Raiders’ two head coaches from 2017 have considered signing Kaepernick:
As Paul tweeted, Raiders taking Juneteenth off. And Del Rio and Gruden never considered bringing Kaepernick in. https://t.co/fgCsrSduSK
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) June 17, 2020
There’s no doubting that Kaepernick was a talented enough quarterback to be in the NFL before he began protesting. So hopefully some organization takes a chance on him this year, even if it isn’t the Raiders.