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Doug Williams, the Washington Redskins‘ senior vice president of player development, said Friday the team hasn’t explored the idea of signing free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick in part because of playing in the nation’s capital and the likely negative reaction from President Donald Trump.
Williams explained his view Friday on The Dan Patrick Show (via Prince J. Grimes of NBC Sports Washington), saying it likely would have been a lose-lose situation.
“I think what happened here, we’re in a heavily, heavily military area,” he said. “And I think the guy that sits on Pennsylvania Avenue—1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—made such a big stink of it, the fans in this area…might’ve been a tough situation for both the team and [Kaepernick].”
Trump consistently attacked the NFL for not taking a stronger stance against players for kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality in 2016 and 2017. He reignited those arguments in recent weeks:
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
Could it be even remotely possible that in Roger Goodell’s rather interesting statement of peace and reconciliation, he was intimating that it would now be O.K. for the players to KNEEL, or not to stand, for the National Anthem, thereby disrespecting our Country & our Flag?
Kaepernick started things off in August 2016 and was later joined by athletes from around the world.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he told NFL Media at the time. “To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Kaepernick became a free agent in March 2017 and hasn’t received another NFL contract.
His status has come back into the spotlight amid worldwide protests regarding the same issues he took a stand against four years ago after George Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man, was killed while in Minneapolis Police custody May 25.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a video statement last week saying the league was “wrong” with how it handled the initial protests, and he pledged the NFL would “encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest” in the future.
“Without black players, there would be no National Football League, and the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff,” Goodell said.
NBC Sports’ Peter King said Thursday he expects Kaepernick to receive another chance, with his protests now being viewed in a different light:
Williams explained while his front office hasn’t discussed the quarterback, he believes the Kansas City Chiefs would be a perfect landing spot with head coach Andy Reid, who once spoke with the Redskins’ former quarterback and current executive about why he gave Michael Vick another NFL opportunity.
“He told me—he was as real as real can get—he had two sons, and they had gotten in a little trouble,” Williams said. “He said, ‘Hey, my son got in trouble.’ He said, ‘Everybody deserves a second chance.’ And you know what, that was good enough for me. And I think if anybody could stomach that and handle Kaepernick and mentor him and understand where he’s coming from, it would be Andy Reid.”
Kansas City also has a locked-in starting quarterback in Patrick Mahomes, the reigning Super Bowl MVP, which would ease concerns about whether signing Kaepernick would place pressure on a team’s starter.
The 32-year-old Kaepernick made 69 appearances across six years with the San Francisco 49ers from 2011 through 2016, helping lead the team to Super Bowl XLVII in 2013.