Roger Goodell Wishes He Had 'Listened Earlier' to Colin Kaepernick on Kneeling During National Anthem

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admits to making a mistake on Colin Kaepernick. On Sunday night, former NFL linebacker Emmanuel Acho, who is also an analyst on Fox Sports 1, released the first part of his series Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man that featured Goodell. Acho brought up Goodell not specifically apologizing to Kaepernick when he admitted the NFL was wrong on how it handled players kneeling during the national anthem. Acho asked Goodell what he would say to the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback if he could apologize to him.

"Well, the first thing I'd say is I wish we had listened earlier," Goodell said. "Kaep, to what you were kneeling about and what you were trying to bring attention to. We had invited him in several times to have the conversation, to have the dialogue I wish we had the benefit of that. We never did. You know, we would have benefited from that. Absolutely."

Acho went on to say kneeling during the national anthem is not about the flag. He then asked Goodell what he would say to people when it comes to the reason for protesting during the national anthem.

"It is not about the flag. The message here that 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. In fact, many of those guys were in the military, and they're a military family," Goodell stated "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."

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When Kaepernick began kneeling in 2016, it led to a national debate on whether kneeling during the national anthem was disrespectful to the flag and members of the military. Kaepernick continued to kneel throughout the entire 2016 season, and when he opted out of his contract, he was not able to sign with another team.

And it looks like Kaepernick won't be playing in the NFL anytime soon. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, teams do not plan to bring in Kaepernick to training camp. There have been a few head coaches such as Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks and Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers to campaign for teams to sign Kaepernick, but he has still not been offered a contract.