If you, like many players in the NFL, have been wondering why Colin Kaepernick can’t seem to find a job, it’s not because he’s not a good player. It’s not because he doesn’t deserve it. It’s because of Donald Trump.
The New York Times reports that in October, about 30 players, owners, and NFL executives met to discuss President* Trump’s insane attacks on the NFL over players’ silent protests against racism and police brutality.
“Let’s make sure that we keep this confidential,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said at the beginning of the meeting, where players demanded to know why Mr. Kaepernick still didn’t have a job.
“If he was on a roster right now, all this negativeness and divisiveness could be turned into a positive,” Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Chris Long said at the meeting. “We all agree in this room as players that he should be on a roster.”
Owners, however, feel differently. Trump supporter and Patriots owner Robert Kraft explained that “this kneeling” was another “elephant in the room” and Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said that fighting against oppression is “not about one person.”
“The problem we have is, we have a president who will use that as fodder to do his mission that I don’t feel is in the best interests of America,” Kraft said of players kneeling during the National Anthem (yes, he feels it’s an attack on America). “It’s divisive and it’s horrible.”
Lurie, who feels Trump’s presidency is “disastrous,” urged players not to get drawn into Trump’s attacks.
“We’ve got to be careful not to be baited by Trump or whomever else,” Lurie said. “We have to find a way to not be divided and not get baited.”
“All Donald needs to do is to start to do this again,” Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula agreed. “We need some kind of immediate plan because of what’s going on in society. All of us now, we need to put a Band-Aid on what’s going on in the country.”
“All the damage Trump’s going to do is done,” Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan countered. Eventually, the discussion turned back to Kaepernick when Eric Reid, the first player to kneel alongside the embattled player, put in his two cents.
“I feel like he was hung out to dry,” Reid said. “Everyone in here is talking about how much they support us.” The room fell quiet. “Nobody stepped up and said we support Colin’s right to do this. We all let him become Public Enemy No. 1 in this country, and he still doesn’t have a job.”
This recording may be problematic for the NFL owner, whom Kaepernick says in legal arguments conspired to keep him out of the league.