Roger Goodell

Roger Goodell emphasizes safety as Raiders report for training camp

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Roger Goodell emphasizes safety as Raiders report for training camp

As most NFL training camps open Tuesday, including for the Raiders, Commissioner Roger Goodell emphasized in an open letter to fans that the league is committed to doing so safely.

“In the months since the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down, we have navigated the time carefully, thoughtfully and in partnership with the NFL Players Association with a shared goal of playing a healthy and complete 2020 season,” Goodell wrote. “This process has not been easy — COVID-19 will continue to present a major challenge to nearly every area of American life. Football is no exception.”

Read more at the Las Vegas Review-Journal

 

Hard to believe Roger Goodell, NFL truly want Colin Kaepernick back in league

Hard to believe Roger Goodell, NFL truly want Colin Kaepernick back in league

Programming note: Tune in to "Race in America: A Candid Conversation" on Friday night at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area.

The NFL is shouting from its ivory basement that it is in the midst of an awakening, that it now realizes its banishment of Colin Kaepernick was overtly punitive and, moreover, that it would like to make amends.

Can you imagine?

Hello, Colin. This is the NFL. Happy Juneteenth! What’s good, bruh? Hey, look, we’re trying to put together a 2020 season. We don’t know what it’s gonna look like, but we wondered if you’d be willing to join us. We have 32 teams, and some of them could use a quarterback. Did you hear Anthony Lynn, the Chargers’ coach – who is, by the way, one of our Black head coaches – talking you up the other day?

According to the words of commissioner Roger Goodell on two occasions this month, presumably speaking for team owners, the road back to the NFL has been cleared for the former 49ers quarterback.

Dr. Ameer Hasan Loggins is among the millions not buying it. The longtime confidant of Kaepernick, a panelist on “Race In America: A Candid Conversation,” on NBC Sports Bay Area Friday night at 8 p.m. is unsparing in his scrutiny.

“First of all, as a writer and as a scholar, you pay attention to words,” Loggins says. “And initially (Goodell’s comments on June 5), he didn’t even mention Colin’s name, right? It was something like he was bouncing back and forth with the players until they got to a point where they were like, ‘Apologize to all the players that protested.’ And it was like ‘Hey, I can’t touch that because it’s also inclusive of Colin.’

“Then he came back (in a June 15 ESPN interview), and it was a thing where it was like ‘I would encourage.’ It was a certain ... encouraging is not demanding. I’m also aware of the fact that maybe two, three weeks ago the NFL retired Colin mysteriously.”

The NFL on May 22, on its redesigned web site, listed Kaepernick as “retired.” Never mind that Kaepernick had not announced any such decision. Or that he set up a workout last November hoping to impress NFL teams enough to get an invitation.

Loggins’ skepticism is warranted. Though it has become fashionable in recent weeks for American institutions to craft statements condemning racist behavior while vowing to be more diverse and less offensive, history is rife with instances of words and gestures not put into practice.

To be blunt, such promises have been used as social opiates to mollify the restless. Has America ever been more broadly restless than now?

“Understanding that I’m not a prisoner of the moment and I’m recognizing that what Goodell is doing is trying to put forth a certain kind of image onto the necessity of seeming as if they’re willing to accept Colin,” Loggins says.

“But you’re not calling him. You’re talking all this talk on your whatever Zoom chats, in whatever little dungeon you’re in, doing that talk. But have you reached out to Colin Kaepernick and his agent or his lawyer? Because that’s when I know it’s real.”

[RACE IN AMERICA: Listen to the latest episode]

It has been almost 42 months since Kaepernick appeared in an NFL game. In a short span of time, he went from being the NFL’s most sensational quarterback, leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl, to its most visible pariah. From being the league’s new wave to being not good enough to make rosters with three quarterbacks whose combined gifts might equal half of his.

All because he kneeled during the pregame national anthem to express his honest and fair concern about racial injustice and police brutality inflicted upon black people in America.

“In order for Colin Kaepernick to not receive a single call in the last four years – and I’m telling you as someone who knows him – that he has not received that call,” Loggins says. “That was coordinated, because that means everyone came together collectively at the same time and decided that this one person was not worthy of being included into this space anymore. And that’s not happenstance that something that has to be colluded or done behind the scenes.

"So, I take it as a PR, just like everybody else. I take it the same way that those police that are taking knees in the daytime and beating the hell out of people at night, I take it that way.”

[RELATED: Why Kap not having an NFL job makes Rapinoe 'so pissed']

It doesn’t matter that Goodell is wearing the face of the advocate for Kaepernick. Or that President Donald Trump this week – three years after urging NFL owners to fire “those sons of bitches” daring to kneel – is now saying he’d support Kaepernick getting another chance.

It’s hard for anyone who has followed this saga since 2017 to take either man at his word. Each is aware of the multicultural energy toward justice and is formulating a new agenda. Trump is what he’s always been. And Goodell, his credibility near zero, knows he has nothing to lose.

Why Colin Kaepernick's lack of NFL job makes Megan Rapinoe 'so pissed'

Why Colin Kaepernick's lack of NFL job makes Megan Rapinoe 'so pissed'

Soccer star Megan Rapinoe and former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick gained worldwide attention by kneeling during the national anthem.

The United States Women's National Team star kneeled before a 2016 friendly in solidarity with Kaepernick and in protest of police brutality and institutional racism. She has been one of the faces of her sport since then, earning the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball at the 2019 World Cup.

Kaepernick, meanwhile, hasn't played a down in the NFL -- or signed with a team -- since becoming a free agent in 2017. That discrepancy doesn't sit well with Rapinoe.
 
"It makes me, like, so pissed, and it makes me so sad," Rapinoe recently said on NBC Sports Bay Area's "Runnin' Plays" podcast. "I feel like if there was a collective outrage about this, that man would be in the league. If everybody cared about it, he would be in the league."

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Kaepernick first sat, then kneeled during "The Star-Spangled Banner" while with the 49ers in 2016. The QB opted to take a knee after consulting with Nate Boyer, a former Seattle Seahawks long snapper and Green Beret.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he "didn't agree" with Kaepernick's demonstration less than a week after Kaepernick first took a knee, and Kaepernick faced criticism from some for disrespecting the flag. About a year after Kaepernick began protesting, President Donald Trump said at a rally in Alabama that NFL owners should discipline players who kneeled during the anthem.
 
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b--h off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired!’ ” Trump said at the time. “You know, some owner is gonna do that."
 
Though Kaepernick threw for more than 2,200 yards in 12 games and posted a passer rating of 90.7, he didn't sign anywhere after opting out of his contract with the 49ers before the 2017 offseason when the team told him he'd otherwise be released. Rapinoe said she is troubled that Kaepernick hasn't signed with an NFL team since then, even as other players have been reinstated and/or signed elsewhere despite arrests and troubling off-field behavior.
 
"We've literally let rapists back in the league," Rapinoe said of the NFL, "and murderers back in the league, and child-beaters and wife-beaters and bad behavior, this or that, like what we let go for other players. But clearly, the NFL is not letting this go. The ownership, specifically the individual owners, do not want him in the league. They do not want him in the locker room. They don't want him as the face of the league. They don't want that shine on him."

Kaepernick has continued to work out and insisted he still wants to play football, but no team has brought him in for anything more than a visit. He visited but did not sign with the Seattle Seahawks in 2017, and Seattle reportedly nixed a visit in 2018 after Kaepernick wouldn't commit to stop kneeling that season. The Baltimore Ravens publicly stated their interest in Kaepernick in 2017 but didn't sign him.

The QB ultimately filed a collusion grievance in 2017, settling it last February. Goodell, under pressure from players, admitted in a video earlier this month that the league was "wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier" and that they "encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest." The commissioner didn't mention Kaepernick's name in the video, but said earlier this week he would "welcome" a team signing Kaepernick. But after he didn't play anywhere the last three years, Rapinoe says the NFL did wrong by Kaepernick.
 
"I mean, it just pisses me off," Rapinoe said. "It's just so blatant. I get pissed at the owners, and I'm pissed at Roger Goodell and pissed at people and fans and sponsors. If sponsors were just like, 'Nah, deuces, we're out,' he'd be back in the league. There's still so much that can be done tomorrow that would put him back on a team that people just refuse to do."

[RELATED: Rapinoe applauds Steph for 'vocally believing in women']

Rapinoe also faced backlash for her decision to kneel in 2016. U.S. Soccer criticized her protest and enacted a policy in 2017 requiring players to stand during the anthem. Cindy Parlow Cone, the federation's new president, said last week she "personally apologized" to Rapinoe after the anthem policy was repealed.
 
Kaepernick inspired Rapinoe to kneel, but so did a host of others. Rapinoe cited Black Lives Matter movement founders Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi and Me Too founder Tarana Burke as influences.
 
"I was like, 'OK, this is why it's so important,' " Rapinoe said of kneeling. "I think in that moment I was like, 'This is now my responsibility.' I think I understood how I could use my platform, and how I could be impactful and people were big mad about it and just saying all kinds of crazy s--t and so upset. But it was like, 'So this is the work that needs to be done.' I feel like it was that moment of that little taste that I had that Colin obviously experiences all the time (and) people of color experience all the time."