Feel free to read that headline again, because I struggle to believe it too. But with society experiencing an awakening of sorts in light of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police, we now live in a world in which the phrase Black Lives Matter is finally evoking action instead of fear.
In the NFL specifically, commissioner Roger Goodell has finally admitted that the league did Colin Kaepernick dirty—without specifically naming Colin Kaepernick—and earlier this week openly encouraged teams to sign the exiled quarterback.
“Well, listen, if he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then obviously it’s going to take a team to make that decision,” Goodell said during ESPN’s The Return of Sports special. “But I welcome that, support a club making that decision and encourage them to do that.”
And for those who believe that Kap’s national anthem protests will remain a source of contention during the upcoming season, several notable players, including future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson and Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, have openly expressed their intent to take a knee this upcoming season. Mayfield, in particular, would be one of the rare white players to do so.
“Pull your head out,” he responded to a fan on Twitter when asked about protesting during the national anthem. “I absolutely am.”
He then doubled down on his stance on his Instagram stories.
“Everybody so upset about my comment doesn’t understand the reason behind kneeling in the first place,” he wrote. “I have the utmost respect for our military, cops, and people that serve OUR country.”
“It’s about equality and everybody being treated the same because we are all human. It’s been ignored for too long and that is my fault as well for not becoming more educated and staying silent. If I lose fans, that’s OK. I’ve always spoken my mind. And that’s from the heart.”
Say that shit, Baker.
So with the tide turning and white people finally—seemingly—giving a shit about the injustices that black folks endure on a daily basis, what sense does it make to continue to keep Kap out of the league?
It doesn’t—which is why NFL reporter Ian Rapoport reports that Kap is generating notable interest as teams prepare for the upcoming season.
“This is a big step forward, as ridiculous as it sounds,” he told the NFL Network. “Just canvassing the league, talking to several different head coaches, there is far, far more interest in Colin Kaepernick right now than there really has been I believe any time in the last three or four years.”
“Whether or not Colin Kaepernick gets signed, I do not know. But the interest in potentially signing him to be a backup, to compete for a backup job, is very real.”
To that end, Los Angeles Chargers coach Anthony Lynn, one of only three black head coaches in the entire damn league, has openly expressed interest in giving Kap a workout despite already having quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor, Easton Stick and 2020 first-round pick Justin Herbert on his roster.
“I haven’t spoken with Colin, not sure where he’s at as far in his career, what he wants to do,” Lynn told reporters on Wednesday. “But Colin definitely fits the style of quarterback for the system that we’re going to be running. I’m very confident and happy with the three quarterbacks that I have, but you can never have too many people waiting on the runway.”
Admittedly, Kap will have significant rust to shake off, considering he hasn’t played a down since 2016. But even so, he’s still a much better player than some of these other “quarterbacks” being paid good money to hold a clipboard.
I’m cautiously optimistic, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we finally see Kap back on the field this season.