VIDEO: Trump says he would support Colin Kaepernick’s return to NFL

President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he would “absolutely” support a second shot for Colin Kaepernick in the NFL.The stance is a drastic reversal for Trump, who previously called players that chose to kneel in protest of police brutality during the national anthem “sons of b——” and said they should lose their jobs.Trump said he is still against players kneeling during the national anthem, however: “I was very disappointed in the NFL when they came out with a statement.”Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

After years of criticizing NFL players who knelt in protest of police brutality during the national anthem, President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he would “absolutely” support a second shot for Colin Kaepernick in the league.In an interview, Scott Thuman, chief political correspondent for Sinclair, asked Trump about whether he thinks the former 49ers quarterback should return to the league. “If he deserves it, he should,” Trump said when asked if Kaepernick should get another shot in the NFL.”If he has the playing ability. He started off great, and then he didn’t end up very great in terms of a player. He was terrific in his rookie year. I think he was very good in his second year. And then something happened. So his playing wasn’t up to snuff. The answer is absolutely I would. As far as kneeling, I would love to see him get another shot. But obviously he has to be able to play well. If he can’t play well, I think it would be very unfair.”

—Scott Thuman (@ScottThuman) June 17, 2020 It was a notable change from Trump’s previous harsh criticisms of players who elected to kneel in protest of police brutality during the national anthem — a movement that Kaepernick started in 2016.”Get that son of a b—- off the field right now, out. He’s fired. He’s fired!” Trump said of kneeling players during a rally for Republican Senate candidate Luther Strange in Alabama in 2017. Trump continued his criticism throughout the 2017 season, even as players across the league joined in demonstrations of solidarity.In the past few weeks, Trump seemed to double down on his opposition to the anthem protest. After New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees apologized for his improper characterization of the protests as anti-flag, Trump chimed in on Twitter, saying that Brees should have stuck to his guns.”I am a big fan of Drew Brees. I think he’s truly one of the greatest quarterbacks, but he should not have taken back his original stance on honoring our magnificent American Flag. OLD GLORY is to be revered, cherished, and flown high,” Trump tweeted.

“We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart. There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag – NO KNEELING!”Trump repeated his frustrations on Twitter again this week, writing that he “won’t be watching” much of the NFL or US Soccer after both organizations expressed support for players’ right to protest.In his interview with Thuman, Trump seemed to hold firm to his stance that players shouldn’t be allowed to protest — despite his newfound support for Kaepernick.”You have to show respect,” Trump said. “There are plenty of places and plenty of things you can protest. I was very disappointed in the NFL when they came out with a statement. I was very disappointed in US Soccer. We support US Soccer. And now they go out and they say that you can do whatever you want. We have to show respect for our flag and for our national anthem.”

—Scott Thuman (@ScottThuman) June 17, 2020 The NFL recently took a drastic turn of its own with regard to the protests, when league commissioner Roger Goodell apologized for his previous stance against players who kneel.”We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black people,” Goodell said in a video. “We the National Football League admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier, and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.”Trump’s seemingly incongruous statements — supporting a second shot for Kaepernick while still opposing the protest movement that pushed the quarterback out of the league in the first place — gives the NFL a taste of what is likely to be another fall full of criticism from the president.

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