Following the killing of George Floyd, an African American man who died while in police custody on May 25 after a white officer kneeled on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes, it's expected players around the NFL will kneel during the national anthem to protest police violence and racial injustices just as former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick did in 2016.
Kaepernick may be kneeling right alongside some of them this fall.
As The Athletic's Michael-Shawn Dugar tweeted, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll told reporters on Thursday that somebody within the league linked to a franchise reached out to him about Kaepernick. Per Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports and ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Seahawks canceled an April 2018 planned workout with Kaepernick after the signal-caller told them he planned to continue kneeling during renditions of "The Star-Spangled Banner" ahead of games.
To clarify, Pete said since interviewing Kap, “I never talked to another head coach about it, I never talked to anybody about it — until today. I got a phone call today.” So it could have been a GM or another high-ranking official. Still, very interesting.— Dugar, Michael-Shawn (@MikeDugar) June 11, 2020
Don't expect Seattle to offer Kaepernick a chance anytime soon:
Pete Carroll was asked about whether #Seahawks would consider Colin Kaeprrnick now. “I like our setup right now,” he said. Seattle has Geno Smith and rookie UDFA Anthony Gordon. “It’s not really available at this time for us.”— Dugar, Michael-Shawn (@MikeDugar) June 11, 2020
While the subject of players refusing to stand during the anthem remains polarizing among pockets of fans, much has changed in the sports world in recent weeks.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees offered multiple apologies for offending teammates and fellow players by saying he's against anyone kneeling during the anthem.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has apologized and admitted that he and the league were "wrong" for not listening to players' concerns about racism.
The United States Soccer Federation recently reversed its policy that threatened bans for any players who kneeled or otherwise protested as the anthem played ahead of a match.
Kaepernick hasn't played an NFL down since Jan. 1, 2017, but the 32-year-old remains in football shape and is willing to return to the league. Last week, Chicago Bears defensive tackle Akiem Hicks suggested NFL owners unofficially blackballed Kaepernick because of his protests.