President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he agreed that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick should be allowed to return to the NFL if he had the athletic ability.
“If he deserves it, he should, if he has the playing ability,” he said. “He started off great, but he didn’t end up great in terms of a player.”
Trump commented on the issue during an interview with Sinclair Chief Political Correspondent Scott Thuman.
Trump said that it would be unfair for Kaepernick to be signed by a team if he did not have the athletic abilities.
If he can’t play well, I think it would be very unfair,” he said.
Thuman posted the clip of his interview with the president on Twitter.
— Scott Thuman (@ScottThuman) June 17, 2020
Trump noted that Kaepernick played “terrific” in his rookie season and even performed well in his second season.
“Then something happened, his playing wasn’t up to snuff,” Trump said, recalling when Kaepernick was benched as the starting quarterback for the team in 2015.
Kaepernick began protesting the national anthem in the beginning of the football season in 2016. In 2017, Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the team to become a free agent, but he was not signed despite some teams expressing interest.
The president has previously expressed his interest in seeing if Kaepernick could play again in the NFL.
“I’d like to see it,” he said in August 2019. “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.”