‘I don’t want to see him come in because somebody thinks it’s a good PR move…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) President Donald Trump weighed in on the prospects of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick returning to the NFL, saying the anthem-protesting player’s politics should not preclude him from playing.
However, he added, Kaepernick should not be allowed to play simply because of his politics either.
He should be given the opportunity only “if he’s good enough,” the president said, according to ESPN.
“I know [Patriots owner] Bob Kraft, I know so many of the owners, if he’s good enough, they’d sign him … in a heartbeat,” Trump said. “They will do anything they can to win games.”
The Patriots just added a two-year, $70 million contract extension to longtime quarterback Tom Brady, who turned 42 last week. After becoming the oldest quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl last year, he shows no signs of slowing down or moving aside for a replacement.
Kaepernick, 31, has not played in the NFL since opting out of his contract after the 2016 season, when he was benched due to his poor performance.
Several teams passed on him as a free agent, which led Kaepernick and fellow anthem-kneeler Eric Reid to sue the league, claiming discrimination. The NFL settled the suit for an undisclosed amount, with the Wall Street Journal reporting it to be less than $10 million.
Reid is now a safety for the Carolina Panthers and has said he plans to continue the kneeling protest this season.
In the meantime, Kaepernick has managed to cash in on his notoriety. A controversial marketing deal with Nike prompted widespread backlash and boycott threats from many conservatives, but ultimately boosted the apparel company’s sales among its target demographic.
The sway that the outspoken race-baiter has over the brand became evident again when, prior to the Independence Day holiday, Nike pulled a design that featured the original “Betsy Ross” flag of the 13 colonies, saying that Kaepernick had deemed it to be “racist” due to the connotations with slavery.
On Wednesday, Kaepernick posted a workout video to his social media accounts complaining that he had been “denied work” for 889 days and saying he was “still ready.
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Trump, who has been openly critical of the kneeling, even encouraging an NFL boycott during the 2017 season, responded to a question from reporters about it during a meeting outside the White House.
“Frankly, I’d love to see Kaepernick come in, if he’s good enough. 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 will be in.”