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Was Colin Kaepernick blackballed? Sports executive Harvey Schiller says no

Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick wasn't blackballed by the NFL according to former sports executive Harvey Schiller.

When the New York Jets were in the market for a backup quarterback to Sam Darnold, there were some high-profile candidates on the market. The Jets had the opportunity to consider the likes of Cam Newton, Jamies Winston, and Joe Flacco before ultimately deciding on Flacco.

And of course there was Colin Kaepernick, who has been linked to the Jets several times over the past few years, although the rumors have been vague and unfounded.

In the recent protests and uprising by NFL players after the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, there has been a groundswell for Kaepernick to be reintroduced into the league. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said that he will stand by the protesters.

One sports executive, Dr. Harvey Schiller, doesn’t think that Kaepernick was blacklisted by the NFL after he started kneeling for the national anthem in a show of protest. It was a movement that spread across the league. He spoke Wednesday on an “Office Hours” chat for Sporthiatus.com.

Schiller served more than 25 years in the United States Air Force, achieving the rank of Brigadier General. He previously served as Chairman and CEO of YankeeNets, an integrated sports-based media company with ownership of the New York Yankees, New York Nets, and New Jersey Devils. He also served as president of Turner Sports. During the course of his career, Schiller was also executive director/secretary-general of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

When he speaks, people listen…even if it is a controversial take on Kaepernick, who is one of the most controversial athletes in the world.

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Schiller was speaking with USA Today columnist Christine Brennan who asked Schiller on the broadcast, “So you don’t think that Colin Kaepernick was blackballed?”

“No, I don’t,” Schiller replied. To watch the video, click here.

His current value to an NFL team, Schiller argues, is about if he can contribute now to an organization. Kapernick last played in 2016 when he threw for 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions while completing 59.2 percent of his passes.

“I leave that up to GMs and the owners,” Schiller said. “My experience has been, if you can help me win, I'll sign you. If he can win for someone, they'll sign him. I can't make that determination. I don't know how good a player (he) is now. (Cowboys owner) Jerry Jones had positive statements about him (Kaepernick) at the time, but he wasn't the quarterback that he wanted for his team.”

When asked if it would be beneficial for the former 49ers quarterback to be on a roster, Schiller also offered that Kaepernick should still play a pivotal role in the league and pushing forward on the discussion of race in this country and should be afforded a platform to do so.

“Maybe there's another place for him,” Schiller retorted. “If he can’t keep playing, (do) as they do on a lot of teams, make him a coach or a spokesman or whatever you want to do. We'll put them on the sideline too, to be inspirational. There are a thousand things you can do, which are done in sports. All of the time, people are surprised.”

Kaepernick has been a free agent since opting out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers in March of 2017.