When the NFL meets with players and their representatives next week to discuss how the league can better support activism efforts by players, it is expected that Colin Kaepernick will be invited to participate in that discussion.
In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, NFL Executive Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs Joe Lockhart said that he expects players to invite Kaepernick to be part of the discussion, but he does not know whether Kaepernick will attend the meeting, the Washington Post reports.
“I expect he will be invited to this meeting,” Lockhart said. “We look forward to him joining the conversation.”
The NFL Players Association, the league, team owners and players have been involved in an ongoing dialogue centered on how the league and owners can support players’ community activism endeavors. This has included a meeting Oct. 17 between player representatives and owners at the NFL offices in New York, as well as the regularly scheduled fall owners meeting, which took place the next day at a Manhattan hotel.
The talks have centered on players’ protests against racial injustice during the national anthem. The NFL has received pressure from the White House as well as from some fans to force players to stand for the anthem. League rules suggest that players stand but do not require them to.
After last week’s meetings, some team owners and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that they believe players should stand, but there was no official edict that they would have to. And even as owners said that they hoped players would stand voluntarily, they also made it clear that there was no stated or implied agreement that league and owner support of player activism would lead to all players standing.
The Post reports that Philadelphia Eagles safety Michael Jenkins said after the meeting between players and owners that Kaepernick had been invited to participate but did not attend. Jenkins said that he did not know why Kaepernick did not participate.
That same day, legal representatives for Kaepernick issued a written statement saying that while players had asked Kaepernick to attend, there had been no formal invitation extended by the league. There is, however, a possibility that Kaepernick can and will participate in future meetings.
The league has left it up to players to decide who will attend the meetings on their side of the table.
Since these protests began with Kaepernick, it is only right that he be included in discussions about how they will move forward. Attempts to erase him from the narrative are obvious, so it is good to see that his fellow players want him there and the NFL is open and receptive to that idea, too.
The next step will be for the blackballing to stop and for him to be signed to play with a team.
Read more at the Washington Post.