President Trump — who famously said NFL owners should fire any “son of a bitch” who knelt during the national anthem — now says Colin Kaepernick should get another shot in the league.
“If he deserves it, he should. If he has the playing ability. He started off great, and then he didn’t end up very great … as a player,” Trump told WABC TV’s Scott Thuman, who tweeted part of the conversation.
”He was terrific in his rookie year and then I think he was very good in his second year and then I think something happened so his playing wasn’t up to snuff,” the president continued, adding that he’d support the black activist quarterback’s bid for a job despite his kneeling in protest of police brutality, a protest sure to become more ubiquitous since the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis cops stirred nationwide anger and unrest.
“The answer is, absolutely I would. As far as kneeling I would love to see him get another shot but obviously he has to be able to play well. If he can’t play well, I think it would be very unfair,” Trump added, apparently referring to other aspiring QBs.
The president has raged about NFL players and other athletes who take a knee during the anthem to protest police brutality and racism since Kaepernick started the trend during a San Francisco 49ers pre-season game in 2016.
But with the country roiling with racial tension since the recent killings of unarmed black men at the hands of cops, Trump has made an effort to reach out to the African-American community, promoting police reforms on Tuesday.
The Trump stance softening on Kaepernick comes after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also said recently he’d encourage any team to sign the former 49er, who has been training since he was effectively banished from the NFL after the controversy.
The move is a radical shift from just last week when the president suggested that he would boycott NFL games if players’ knelt during the anthem.
He had also slammed Goodell after the commissioner said he was wrong to not listen to players’ concerns over racial issues.
“Could it be even remotely possible that in Roger Goodell’s rather interesting statement of peace and reconciliation, he was intimating that it would now be O.K. for the players to KNEEL, or not to stand, for the National Anthem, thereby disrespecting our Country & our Flag?” the commander-in-chief tweeted.
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