The NFL (National Football League) wants to see Colin Kaepernick back in the sport.
The quarterback was playing for the San Francisco 49ers back in 2016, when he first knelt during the playing of the American national anthem as a protest against racial injustice in the country. It soon caught on, and his gesture was copied by a number of other players who also took the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
However, it had a detrimental impact on his career as an American football player. When he became a free agent the following year, Kaepernick found that no teams were willing to sign him, with team owners and Republican politicians lining up to condemn his position.
He has not played since. Try-outs with the Seattle Sounders and in Atlanta last year all fell through for various reasons, whilst in 2018, Kaepernick settled out of court a lawsuit brought against the NFL on grounds of colluding to prevent him from being signed as a free agent. The size of the settlement has not been disclosed, but it is estimated to be in the region of US $10 million.
Since then, he has become an outspoken spokesman on racial issues and starred in a controversial Nike advertising campaign.
Now though the NFL wants to see him back doing what he does best – playing.
Last week the NFL, in the wake of the worldwide protests following the death of George Floyd – and the subsequent two other deaths of Afro-American men at the hands of US law enforcement officers – admitted that they had been wrong not to listen to player protests about racial inequality and that their stance on players protesting during the national anthem was wrong.
They also acknowledged the enormous contribution that black players had made to the success of the NFL.
However, NFL commissioner Roger Goodall, who fronted the apology for the league, attracted criticism because he did not mention Kaepernick by name in his original remarks. He has since rectified that by urging NFL teams to consider hiring the quarterback once more.