NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell expressed remorse for the league not listening to Colin Kaepernick in 2016 when the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback peacefully protested during the national anthem.
Appearing on former NFL player Emmanuel Acho’s social media video series “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man,” Goodell was asked by Acho to publicly express his remorse and apologize to Kaepernick, who hasn’t played in the NFL since the 2016 season.
“I wish we had listened earlier, Kaep, to what you were kneeling about and what you were trying to bring attention to,” Goodell said.
Goodell also expressed disappointment about how the league’s players’ peaceful protests were being portrayed.
“What our players are doing is being mischaracterized. These are not people who are unpatriotic. They’re not disloyal. They’re not against our military,” Goodell said. “What they were trying to do is exercise their right to bring attention to something that needs to get fixed. That misrepresentation of who they were and what they were doing was the thing that really gnawed at me.”
Acho – who played linebacker for three seasons in the NFL – started “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis to help white people better understand the Black experience.