NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said on Monday he would "encourage," interested teams to sign Colin Kaepernick.
"Well, listen, if he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then obviously it's gonna take a team to make that decision," Goodell told ESPN's Mike Greenberg. "But I welcome that, support a club making that decision, and encourage them to do that."
Goodell added he and the league would work with Kaepernick if the former 49ers quarterback wanted to keep his efforts off the field.
"If his efforts are not on the field but continuing to work in this space, we welcome him to that table and to help us, guide us, help us make better decisions about the kinds of things that need to be done in the communities," Goodell said. "We have invited him in before, and we want to make sure that everybody's welcome at that table, and trying to help us deal with some very complex, difficult issues, that have been around for a long time."
Kaepernick last played in 2016, the season he started kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice. He has gone unsigned in each of the last three offseasons. Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid settled a case against the NFL in March 2019 after claiming the NFL colluded to not sign Kaepernick following the 2016 season.
Kaepernick's extended free agency has returned to the spotlight in recent weeks following the death of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. Floyd was stopped by officer Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd can be heard saying "I can't breathe," numerous times before his death.
Chauvin has been fired and charged with second-degree murder. Three other officers have been charged with aiding and abetting murder for their role in Floyd's death.
Goodell and the NFL released a video on June 5 condemning "racism and the systematic oppression of Black People." He also encouraged all players to "speak out and peacefully protest."