Mark Davis Says Raiders Have Had 'Blessing' to Sign Colin Kaepernick Since 2017

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 18, 2020

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 29:  Owner Mark Davis of the Oakland Raiders stands on the sidelines before the game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High on December 29, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 16-15. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Las Vegas Raiders' Mark Davis made it clear he would sign off on the team adding Colin Kaepernick once the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback became a free agent in 2017.

"Since 2017, I've told the coaches and general managers that if they want to hire Colin Kaepernick, they have my blessing," Davis said to ESPN's Paul Gutierrez.  

Kaepernick has gone unsigned since opting out of his contract with the Niners. General manager John Lynch later confirmed the team intended to release him if he hadn't engineered his own exit.

Many believe NFL owners collectively blackballed Kaepernick from the league as a result of his social activism. He began protesting during the national anthem by kneeling throughout the 2016 season, and some players joined him by demonstrating.

Kaepernick explained the purpose of his protest to NFL Network's Steve Wyche.

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," he said in 2016. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

There has been renewed discussion of Kaepernick's protests following the killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd by police, in March and May respectively. People have marched and demonstrated across the United States and elsewhere to demand reforms addressing systemic racism and police brutality.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement on June 5 saying the league should've done more to support players who chose to protest:

On Monday, Goodell told ESPN's Mike Greenberg he would "encourage" any team interested in signing Kaepernick to pursue doing so.

There's now little chance Kaepernick ends up in Las Vegas after the team signed Marcus Mariota to back up Derek Carr and possibly challenge Carr for the starting job.