NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was asked Thursday about arguably the hottest topic in his league, and his answer was, um, interesting.
Asked on FS1 if Colin Kaepernick is good enough to play in the NFL, Roger Goodell said, "I'm not a football expert."
— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) September 7, 2017
Even though we totally understand what Goodell saying—that he’s no NFL scout and therefore can’t really evaluate Kaepernick’s qualifications—it’s still pretty hilarious to hear the guy who runs football say he doesn’t know anything about football. It’s classic Goodell clumsiness, a quote that both misrepresents what the commissioner’s intent and also seems to speak to a greater (and unflattering) truth.
It’s also hard not to see this response as a dodge. By looking at stats, by reading accounts from scouts and by hearing from players around the league, you can develop an opinion on whether Kaepernick belongs in the NFL without being a professional football talent evaluator. In a way, Goodell’s deference is not so different from his vague statement about Michael Bennett’s allegation of police brutality, in which he called for “mutual respect” between police and the communities they serve. Goodell is weighing in, but he’s not really weighing in. He’s trying to play both sides in a way that will inevitably piss off everyone.
Anyway, you have laugh at the fact that the only person in America who has remained agnostic on the Colin Kaepernick controversy is the most powerful man in Kaepernick’s sport.
UPDATE: Here’s a full clip of Goodell’s interview on FS1’s First Things First, in which he says he wants Kaepernick to have an opportunity but still believes in the NFL’s meritocracy.