Richard Sherman: Colin Kaepernick Can Play at ‘Highest Level’, Deserves a Job

FILE - In this Nov. 16, 2019, file photo, free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick arrives for a workout for NFL football scouts and media in Riverdale, Ga. Kaepernick has been a leader in the fight for social justice by people of color not just in the football world or the sports world. Recent developments have raised his profile and, more significantly, reminded many of the sacrifices he has made while protesting social injustice and police brutality.(AP Photo/Todd Kirkland, File)

Todd Kirkland/Associated Press

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman says Colin Kaepernick deserves to have an NFL job and can “play at the highest level.” 

“I can want him to have a job, and I can think he deserves a job as much as anybody and everybody’s said it who said anything, because he’s a good player and he showed he can play in this league,” Sherman told reporters Wednesday. “He can play at the highest level, so he deserves a job.

“In order to answer those questions, I had to be one of the decision-makers who didn’t give him a job. And I’m not that person. I think until those people are asked those difficult questions, we’ll never get the answers.”

Kaepernick has been out of the NFL since the end of the 2016 season, thanks in large part to his protests during the national anthem. He threw for 2,241 yards and 16 touchdowns against four interceptions during the 2016 season and was just 29 years old when that campaign ended.

The form of Kaepernick’s protests became a national lightning rod of controversy despite the then-49ers quarterback meeting with Nate Boyer, a former Army Green Beret, to discuss a respectful form of protest. Some NFL owners chastised or threatened to bench players who knelt during the anthem. President Donald Trump has criticized protesters on several occasions, including one instance in which he called them “son[s] of bitch[es]” and called on them to be fired.

Trump’s comments led to widespread pushback in September 2017, with NFL teams decrying their players’ right to free speech.

The NFL attempted to end anthem demonstrations before the 2018 season but relented amid pushback from players. Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a video posted Friday that the league was wrong in attempting to stop peaceful protests.

“We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people,” Goodell said. “We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all players to speak out and peacefully protest.”

Kaepernick was not been mentioned by name in the video. He settled a collusion lawsuit with the league last year. 

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