President Donald Trump said Friday that athlete and activist Colin Kaepernick, a former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers who’s now a free agent, should be allowed an opportunity to play again in the National Football League — but “only if he’s good enough.”
“Frankly, I’d love to see Kaepernick come in — if he’s good enough,” the President told reporters at the White House on Friday. “But I don’t want to see him come in because somebody thinks it’s a good PR move. If he’s good enough, he will be in.”
On Wednesday, Kaepernick posted a video on his Twitter account of him working out to show that he’s ready to play again if given the chance.
Trump added that he knows many of the NFL team owners.
“If he’s good enough, they’d sign him,” Trump said. “So if he’s good enough, I know these people, they would sign him in a heartbeat. They will do anything they can to win games.”
Trump weighing in on Kaepernick’s prospects in the NFL come after he has frequently derided Kaepernick for his role in sparking the movement during the 2016 NFL season of kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality and racism. After Kaepernick’s kneeling drew attention, the President called the demonstrations “unpatriotic” and used it to rally his base.
He also called on the league to take punitive measures against Kaepernick and the protesting players.
Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since the 2016 season. He opted out of his contract with the 49ers in 2017 and became a free agent, but no team offered him a contract. That October, Kaepernick filed a grievance against the league, accusing team owners of colluding to keep him from being signed. He settled his grievance case against the NFL in February.
CNN’s Maegan Vazquez, Allie Malloy and Darran Simon contributed to this report.