Roger Goodell On Colin Kaepernick: “I’m Not A Football Expert”

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Anyone who’s paid even the least bit of attention to the job performance of Roger Goodell during his tenure as the NFL’s commissioner can be forgiven for believing the 58-year-old isn’t an expert on any subject.

He himself admits he’s not even an expert in the sport he lords over.

The commissioner, who’s been in his position since 2006, was asked on FS1’s First Things First about the unemployment of Colin Kaepernick, who made headlines a season ago by sparking protests, taking place during the pregame renditions of the national anthem, against racial injustice.

“I want to see everyone get an opportunity, including Colin, but those decisions are made by football people,” Goodell responded. “When teams have a need and teams feel like they can get better by a particular individual, whether they know the system, or whether they have more talent, or whatever it may be, that’s what they do. And I’m still convinced that he’ll get that opportunity when the right opportunity comes along. That’s what our league’s all about.”

In 11 starts in 2016, Kaepernick completed 59.2 percent of his passes for 2,241 yards to go with 16 touchdown passes and four interceptions. His 468 rushing yards were second among quarterbacks only to Tyrod Taylor, who gained 580 yards on the ground in 15 starts. Goodell said he’s not fit to determine whether Kaepernick is or isn’t good enough to play in the NFL.

“I’m not a football expert,” Goodell said. “I’m a huge fan. I have a role as commissioner also, but for me I watch the games and enjoy and I let the football people make those decisions. And the reality is there’s 32 different decisions, and multiple decisions within an organization, so there’s always a dispute. The idea of who can play, who can’t play, who’s best for our system and not best for our system, are decisions that should be made by those 32 teams.”

Goodell has drawn criticism from players, fans, and media for his handling of investigations, notably those into Deflategate and Ezekiel Elliott, and for his inconsistent punishments, particularly when it comes to domestic violence.