Roger Goodell Discusses Colin Kaepernick, Would Consider Speaking with QB

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 23, 2017

FILE - In this May 24, 2016, file photo, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell answers reporter's questions at an NFL owner's meeting in Charlotte N.C.  Goodell disagrees with Colin Kaepernick's choice to kneel during the national anthem, but recognizes the quarterback's right to protest. Asked by The Associated Press about Kaepernick's decision not to stand before games when the national anthem is played, Goodell says:
Bob Leverone/Associated Press

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn't think quarterback Colin Kaepernick is being blackballed by teams, despite the fact he is still a free agent into late May. 

"It's the same thing I said before, which is each team makes individual decisions about how they can improve their team," Goodell said Tuesday, per Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. "And if they see an opportunity to improve their team, I think they do it. They evaluate players, they evaluate systems and coaches, and they all make those individuals decisions to try to improve their team."

Goodell also said he "wouldn't be opposed to speaking to him" when asked if he's thought about having a conversation with the free agent signal-caller.

This comes after the commissioner previously said he didn't think Kaepernick was being blackballed at the league meetings in March, per Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk.

Despite having a lackluster San Francisco 49ers roster around him, Kaepernick threw for 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and just four interceptions in 12 games last year. However, he drew far more headlines for his decision to kneel during the national anthem as a way to raise awareness regarding social injustice and police brutality.

Some, such as Kevin B. Blackistone of the Washington Post, suggested Kaepernick is being blackballed by teams because of that social activism. The other side of the argument, presented by Albert Breer of The MMQB, says teams don't see the Nevada product as "a starting-caliber player," but Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News offered a counter:

For now, Goodell is firmly in the camp that thinks Kaepernick is not being blackballed, as his Tuesday comments indicated.