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Roger Goodell 'Thankful' for Colin Kaepernick's Activism

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spoke highly of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick on Thursday at his state of the league news conference ahead of the Super Bowl.

Goodell said he was "thankful" for Kaepernick raising the issues he did.

"He deserves our recognition for that and our appreciation," Goodell said.

Goodell apologized to Kaepernick last August, saying, "I wish we had listened earlier, Kaep, to what you were kneeling about and what you were trying to bring attention to. ... It is not about the flag. The message here, and what our players are doing, is being mischaracterized. That misrepresentation in who they were and what they were doing was a thing that really gnawed at me."

Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since 2016, when he routinely took a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.

In November 2017, Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL and its owners. He accused them of colluding to keep him from playing in the league. Kaepernick withdrew the grievance in February 2019 after reaching a confidential settlement with the league. 

The Super Bowl XLVII participant conducted a public workout for multiple teams in November 2019 after a private workout organized by the NFL was canceled due to concerns raised by Kaepernick's camp, including a lack of media access.

Kaepernick's activism gained renewed attention following the George Floyd protests against police brutality and racism in 2020. He recently collaborated with Ben and Jerry's to unveil a mural and billboards celebrating his activism in Tampa ahead of Super Bowl LV. He also teamed up with the company in December 2020 on a new permanent flavor called Colin Kaepernick's Change the Whirled.