NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who changed his opposition to athletes kneeling during the national anthem to protest police violence following the murder of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police in May, said that it particularly bothered him how many have tried to question the patriotism of the demonstrating players.
Speaking on Emmanuel Acho’s “Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man” over the weekend, Goodell said “It is not about the flag. These are not people who are unpatriotic. They’re not disloyal. They’re not against our military. In fact, many of those guys were in the military and they’re a military family.”
Goodell stressed that “What they were trying to do is exercise their right to bring attention to something that needs to get fixed. That misrepresentation of who they were and what they were doing was the thing that really gnawed at me.”
The commissioner reiterated what he said in the immediate aftermath of the Floyd tragedy, that he wishes the league had “listened earlier” when Colin Kaepernick protested the national anthem in 2016.
Asked what he would say to Kaepernick now given the opportunity to apologize, Goodell said, “Well the first thing I’d say is I wish we had listened earlier, Kap, to what you were kneeling about and what you were trying to bring attention to.”
Kaepernick, and former teammate Eric Reid eventually settled their collusion grievances cases against the NFL after accusing the team owners in the league of conspiring to prevent them from playing again, according to the Independent.
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