Thomas said it's on the NFL to work on rebuilding trust with the Black community after "blackballing" Kaepernick for the last three seasons:
"I pray that we figure out a way to make this NFL season work safely amidst the coronavirus pandemic. I'm a vice president on the board of directors of the NFL Players Association, and we're talking about that right now. If and when it does, I have no doubt that we'll hear any number of statements and sentiments from the teams, from the league and from Roger Goodell about racial injustice, about Black Lives Matter, about making change. We're already hearing them now. Great. It's the middle of July. But I don't think any player will really believe the sentiments of the NFL if Colin Kaepernick doesn't have a job in the league this season.
"When I initially spoke with Peter King about writing this column, he wanted to know if I might propose a creative solution to make that job happen for Kap. I said no. The NFL created this problem. The NFL has to solve it. It's not my job to do that. If the league really feels like it's going to back the players when it comes to ending racism, Colin should have a job. That's the only way that the Black community and the players are going to truly believe the NFL is serious about what they say. Otherwise, people will always reference what you did to your own. You have to look in the mirror and clean your own house first."
Kaepernick has gone unsigned the last three seasons, in large part because of his protests against police brutality and discrimination of Black people during the playing of the national anthem in 2016. His method of protest made him a national lightning rod, with teams choosing to sign lesser quarterbacks despite the sport evolving in Kaepernick's favor.
Kaepernick threw for 2,241 yards and 16 touchdowns against four interceptions in 2016, making him one of the few bright spots on a 49ers team bereft of talent. He also continued to make plays with his legs, rushing for 468 yards and two scores. From 2012-2016, only Cam Newton and Russell Wilson ran for more yards among quarterbacks than Kaepernick.
"He's the type of quarterback that today's NFL is built for," Thomas wrote. "It's built for the mobile quarterback, it's built for the quarterback who can run but also throw. He's that dual-threat option. He's mobile, and he has a big arm that can hit the deep threat. He causes confusion for defenses if he gets into any kind of zone-read option. And obviously the RPO game is bigger than ever. Set aside for a second what the league would gain in terms of credibility by bringing him back. From a pure football standpoint, his style fits the league perfectly."
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told ESPN's Mike Greenberg last month that he would "encourage" a team to sign Kaepernick. With camp just two weeks away from its scheduled start, it's looking increasingly like Kaepernick will again be on the sidelines when the NFL season kicks off despite the momentum in his favor.