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Trump says he’d ‘love to see’ Colin Kaepernick back in the NFL — on one condition

Colin Kaepernick kneeling before a 2016 San Francisco 49ers game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick before a game on Oct. 2, 2016, in Santa Clara.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Colin Kaepernick and President Trump have a history, and it’s not exactly a pleasant one.

It’s so unpleasant, in fact, that Kaepernick’s 2017 grievance complaint against the NFL actually mentions Trump as “an organizing force” in essentially blackballing the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback for kneeling in protest during the national anthem. That case was resolved earlier this year.

But on Friday, Trump told reporters that he’d “love to see” Kaepernick, who hasn’t been able to land an NFL job since opting out of his contract with the 49ers in early 2017, back in the league — on one condition.

“Only if he’s good enough,” Trump said. “Yeah, if he’s good enough. Why wouldn’t he play if he was good enough? And I think if he’s good enough, I know the owners — I know Bob Kraft, I know so many of the owners — if he’s good enough, they’d sign him. So if he’s good enough — I know these people — they would sign him in a heartbeat. They would do anything they can to win games. So I’d like to see it.

“Frankly, I’d love to see Kaepernick come in, if he’s good enough. 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.”

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In case you had trouble keeping count, Trump used the phrase “if he’s good enough” eight times during a 41-second clip.

So apparently Kaepernick hasn’t been “good enough” to play in the NFL during the last two-plus years.

Incidentally, here’s just some of the quarterbacks who were able to latch on with teams as free agents during the same stretch: Kellen Clemens, Josh McCown, EJ Manuel, Mark Sanchez, T.J. Yates, Austin Davis, Luke McCown, Jay Cutler, Thad Lewis, Brock Osweiler, Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer, Josh Johnson, Matt Barkley, Mike Glennon, Chase Daniel, Case Keenum, Tom Savage, Chad Henne, Blaine Gabbert, Geno Smith, Matt Cassel, Robert Griffin III, Derek Anderson, Brett Hundley, Landry Jones and Blake Bortles.

Trump’s comments came days after Kaepernick shared a video of his grueling workout routine on Twitter. “5am. 5 days a week. For 3 years. Still Ready,” Kaepernick said in the tweet.

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Back when Kaepernick started his protests in 2016, then-candidate Trump suggested “maybe he should find a country that works better for him.” Around the same time, Kaepernick referred to Trump as “openly racist.”

The next year, Trump suggested that players who kneel during the anthem should lose their jobs.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired,’ ” Trump said at a Sept. 22, 2017, rally in Alabama.

During a 2017 speech in Kentucky, Trump seemed to revel in Kaepernick’s struggle to land a job and the fact that some were suggesting it was due to the president’s influence on owners. “I just saw that,” Trump told the crowd. “I said, ‘If I remember that one, I’m gonna report it to the people of Kentucky because they like it when people actually stand for the American flag.’ Right?”

Trump made no mention of kneeling or the flag during his comments Friday.


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