NFL Responds to Colin Kaepernick-to-Vikings Proposal by Ex-Spokesman Lockhart

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 30, 2020

Free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick participates in a workout for NFL football scouts and media, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, in Riverdale, Ga. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)
Todd Kirkland/Associated Press

The NFL responded Saturday to an opinion piece written by former NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart regarding free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

In the article written for CNN, Lockhart called for an NFL team to sign Kaepernick. He singled out the Minnesota Vikings because of his belief that Kaepernick could help bring the community back together after the death of George Floyd during an arrest in Minneapolis on Monday.

According to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the following in response: "Colin is a free agent. Clubs may sign him if they choose to do so."

Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since the 2016 season. In 2016, Kaepernick began kneeling during the playing of the national anthem to protest racial inequality, social injustice and police brutality.

Lockhart wrote in the article that Kaepernick should have been signed in 2017, and he explained why he believes Minnesota would be the perfect landing spot for him now:

"The situation in Minnesota right now offers a unique opportunity to deal with the symbols of racial injustice. As a small, but important step, the owners of the Minnesota Vikings, Zygi and Mark Wilf, can send a strong message by offering Colin Kaepernick a contract to play with the Vikings. Bring him into camp, treat him like any of the other players given a chance to play the game they love.

"It will not solve the problem of blacks and police violence. But it will recognize the problem that Kaepernick powerfully raised, and perhaps show that, with courage, real progress can be made."

Video captured officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on the back of Floyd's neck during an arrest Monday in Minneapolis. Floyd told Chauvin that he couldn't breathe multiple times, but Chauvin did not move his knee. Floyd was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

On Friday, Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

In the wake of Floyd's death, there have been protests in Minneapolis and its surrounding areas, as well as other major cities across the country. Several places of business in Minnesota have been looted and burned down as well.

Kaepernick tweeted the following about the situation Thursday:

Colin Kaepernick @Kaepernick7

When civility leads to death, revolting is the only logical reaction. The cries for peace will rain down, and when they do, they will land on deaf ears, because your violence has brought this resistance. We have the right to fight back! Rest in Power George Floyd

During his six-year NFL career with the Niners, Kaepernick went 28-30 as a starter during the regular season. He also led San Francisco to two NFC Championship Game berths and one trip to the Super Bowl.

In his final season, Kaepernick went just 1-10 as a starter, but he threw for 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions, while also rushing for 468 yards and two scores.

Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL on the grounds that he believed the league and its teams were conspiring to keep him out. Kaepernick and his former 49ers teammate, safety Eric Reid, settled with the NFL last year for a reported less than $10 million total.

While Kaepernick is now 32 years old and four years removed from his last NFL season, he could be a fit in Minnesota. The most experienced quarterback behind Kirk Cousins on the Vikings' depth chart is Sean Mannion, who has made only two career starts and has never thrown an NFL touchdown pass.