President Donald Trump addressed former quarterback Colin Kaepernick on Friday, saying that he would “love” to see him return to the NFL, but only “if he’s good enough.”
ESPN reported that when Trump was asked about Kaepernick’s potential return during a meeting at the White House, he responded, “Only if he’s good enough. … If he was good enough, they’d hire him. Why wouldn’t he play if he was good enough?”
“I think if he was good enough, I know the owners, I know Bob Kraft, I know so many of the owners, if he’s good enough, they’d sign him,” Trump continued. “So if he’s good enough, I know these people — they would sign him in a heartbeat. They will do anything they can to win games.”
“Frankly, I’d love to see Kaepernick come in, if he’s good enough,” Trump said. “But I don’t want to see him come in because somebody thinks it’s a good PR move. If he’s good enough, he will be in.”
Reporter: Should Colin Kaepernick get an opportunity to play in the NFL?
Trump: “Only If he’s good enough. I know the owners, I know Bob Kraft. They will do anything they can to win games” pic.twitter.com/tTZHyL6oCH— Bloomberg TicToc (@tictoc) August 9, 2019
Kaepernick made headlines back in 2016 when he began taking a knee during the national anthem before his games as a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. He said that he was kneeling during the anthem to protest against racial inequality in the United States, but many viewed this move as a blatant sign of disrespect against the American flag and those who fight to serve it.
Kaepernick’s protests generated tons of controversy, and Trump himself even criticized him for it in 2017, when he said the kneeling was “hurting the game” and that offended fans should walk out of games.
Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers in March of 2017, and he has not been signed by any other team since. He has become something of a martyr for liberals who claim that he has not been signed because NFL teams really are racist. Others, however, have pointed out that Kaepernick led the 49ers to a losing record during his final season with them, and that he may not have been signed again because he isn’t good enough to play anymore.
Kaepernick has yet to respond to Trump’s comments about him.