As bizarre as it sounds, it took the NFL almost four years to admit it was wrong in its handling of players protesting racial injustice and police brutality by kneeling during the National Anthem. Though it failed to issue any direct apology to Colin Kaepnerick, Commissioner Roger Goodell's statement was exactly what fans needed to hear amid the nationwide demonstrations in response to the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.
If the league really wanted to prove it cares about the Black Lives Matter movement, it would give Kaepernick a realistic shot at an NFL comeback. Numerous players have come out in support of this objective, with Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan becoming the latest to do so.
"I think he should have every opportunity” the former MVP told reporters during a conference call on Tuesday. "He created awareness for a situation that -- it’s taking some time -- people are becoming more active in terms of their response to it. I think from that standpoint his protest is being heard, I think he should have every opportunity to have a job and have a spot in this league."
Ryan didn't exactly call out Goodell and the league's 32 owners, but his stance is a strong one all the same. Going the extra mile to welcome the former San Francisco 49ers star and NFC champ back into the league is the most unequivocal way the NFL can convince the players to accept its newfound stance as something more than lip service.
We're not talking about a staged workout, either. When you look at the quarterback landscape around the league, the fact that the Nevada product can't even get a proper interview is downright criminal. The scenario becomes even worse when you consider some of the players currently holding jobs as backups.
As Ryan suggests, the NFL has no choice but to do right by Kaepernick and make up for blackballing him for the last three seasons. There's no better time than now.