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Roger Goodell: ‘I wish we had listened earlier, Kaep’

FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2020, file photo, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell answers a question during a news conference for the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game in Miami. The NFL is partnering with three non-profit, non-partisan organizations to get out the vote as the league leverages its Inspire Change initiative. The program will support and encourage voting and civic engagement efforts of current and former NFL players, club and league personnel and fans beginning Friday, Aug. 7, 2020, until Election Day in November. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Appearing on a social media video series with former NFL player Emmanuel Acho, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell apologized to Colin Kaepernick for not understanding the message the former quarterback was trying to send by kneeling during the national anthem.

“I wish we had listened earlier, Kaep, to what you were kneeling about and what you were trying to bring attention to,” Goodell said on ‘Uncomfortable Conversation with a Black Man.'

Goodell also said that he believes the social justice movement players and coaches around the NFL have joined has also been misunderstood by many.

“What our players are doing is being mischaracterized. These are not people who are unpatriotic. They’re not disloyal. They’re not against our military,” Goodell said. “What they were trying to do is exercise their right to bring attention to something that needs to get fixed. That misrepresentation of who they were and what they were doing was the thing that really gnawed at me.”

Acho also asked Goodell about his apology made in June addressing the way the league initially handled the kneeling movement after Kaepernick began the protest during the 2016 season. In the June apology, Kaepernick was not named.

“We had invited him in several times to have the conversation, to have the dialogue,” Goodell said. “I wish we had the benefit of that, we never did. We would have benefited from that, absolutely.


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