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Roger Goodell Talks Colin Kaepernick's Free Agency, Accusations of Blackballing

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2017

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks to the media after an NFL owners meeting Tuesday, May 23, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
Paul Beaty/Associated Press

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell took issue with the notion teams are blackballing free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick from the league.

"All want to get better, and if they see an opportunity to get better as a football team, they're going to do it," Goodell said at a Los Angeles Rams "All-Access" event last Friday, per ESPN.com's Alden Gonzalez. "They're going to do whatever it takes to make their football team better. So those are football decisions. They're made all the time. I believe that if a football team feels that [Kaepernick], or any other player, is going to improve that team, they're going to do it."

Goodell's comments came two weeks after Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said the team wouldn't sign Kaepernick because he's good enough to be a starter in the NFL.

Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett offered a different opinion, saying Kaepernick's continued unemployment is resulting from the influence of "race and politics in sports," per ESPN.com's Sheil Kapadia. Kapadia also shared a photo in which Bennett wore a T-shirt from Kaepernick's "Know Your Rights" campaign:

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Sheil Kapadia @SheilKapadia

Michael Bennett again showed support for Colin Kaepernick. "Race and politics in sports is something people don't want to hear about." https://t.co/iiRRwSIH1i

New York Giants co-owner John Mara told The MMQB's Jenny Vrentas in May that the team had received a high volume of negative feedback from fans regarding the potential for Giants players to protest in a similar manner to Kaepernick.

"All my years being in the league, I never received more emotional mail from people than I did about that issue," Mara said. "If any of your players ever do that, we are never coming to another Giants game. It wasn't one or two letters. It was a lot. It's an emotional, emotional issue for a lot of people, moreso than any other issue I've run into."

While it's doubtful fans affected the Giants' free-agency plans—the team doesn't have a pressing need to add a quarterback—Mara's comments highlighted the pressure teams may feel when they consider signing Kaepernick.

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