In an interview with WJLA’s Scott Thuman, President Donald Trump said he “absolutely would” support former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick “should get another shot in the NFL.” Kaepernick generated controversy in 2016 for choosing to kneel during the national anthem to protest systemic racism and police brutality, a choice that essentially froze him out of the NFL.
“If he deserves it, he should. If he has the playing ability,” Trump said. “He started off great and then he didn’t end up very great in terms of as a player. He was terrific in his rookie year, I think he was very good in his second year, and then something happened. So his playing wasn’t up to snuff.”
“The answer is absolutely I would. As far as kneeling — I would love to see him get another shot, but obviously he has to play well. If he can’t play well, I think it would be very unfair,” the president added.
You can watch video footage of Trump’s remarks below.
— Scott Thuman (@ScottThuman) June 17, 2020
But the president has a history of attacking Kaepernick, whose activism furthered the globe’s understanding of the Black Lives Matter movement. In 2017, Trump accused him and those who kneeled with him of “ruining the game” and making a mockery of the nation’s flag.
“That’s a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect of everything that we stand for,” he said at the time. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired.”
During a rally that same year, he credited his influence on Twitter for keeping Kaepernick out of a job.
“Our inner cities will find a rebirth of hope, safety, and opportunity,” he said. “Your San Francisco quarterback, I’m sure nobody ever heard of him. “It was reported that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. Do you believe that? I just saw that. I just saw that.”