Say what you will about Roger Goodell, but it’s not up to him as to whether or not Colin Kaepernick gets back into the NFL. It’s up to his 32 bosses.
Many people love to refer to Roger Goodell and the league office as “the NFL.” However, there’s one problem with that. While he is the commissioner of the league, and the face of the NFL’s power, he’s not really the one in charge. The people who own the franchises are the ones in charge.
Goodell shared this video from the official NFL account Twitter account today.
We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter. #InspireChange pic.twitter.com/ENWQP8A0sv
— NFL (@NFL) June 5, 2020
Goodell As Commissioner of the NFL
Goodell is the face of the NFL. He’s the one out front making all the decisions. Remember how he got the job in the first place.
He was chosen by the owners to succeed Paul Tagliabue. The first round was narrowed down to 11 semifinalists, and the second round was down to five finalists. When the owners voted, Goodell came out on top.
Goodell is much like the President of the United States, in that he can be removed from power. It’s not as much of a process to get Goodell out of the office of Commissioner of the NFL, though. A vote goes to the Executive Committee. According to the NFL Constitution and Bylaws the Executive Committee comprises of the following:
The League shall have an Executive Committee composed of one (1) representative from each member club. Each representative shall be appointed by the member club by written notice to the Commissioner. Each club may name an alternate representative in the same manner. Said alternate shall have the same authority as the regular appointee in the absence of such appointee. Each appointee and alternate on the Executive Committee shall serve until his appointment is revoked in writing by the appointing member club.
There would have to be a vote to oust Goodell out of office. According to the bylaws, it would require a 3:1 (75%) vote to get him out of office. That would be a long-shot most of the time. With that said, there could be a case made that he is then technically not in complete control of the fate of the NFL. If the owners disapprove of him, they could vote him out of office.
Will Kaepernick return?
Goodell said the right thing when he said, “We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. 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. We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter. I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country. Without black players, there would be no National Football League. And the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality, and oppression of black players coaches, fans, and staff. We are listening, I am listening, and I will be reaching out to players who have raised their voices and others on how we can improve and go forward for a better and more united NFL family.” That reads as hollow to many fans, but he can only do so much.
Goodell can’t force a team to sign Kaepernick, though, and therein lies the problem. The 32 owners (including the two co-owners of the New York Giants) and the Packers executive committee (the team is community-owned) will have a huge say on whether or not Goodell’s words will ring true.
Let’s face it. Colin Kaepernick belongs in the NFL. Whether or not he’s worthy of a starting job is one debate. However, with his resume, he should absolutely be one of at least 64 quarterbacks that are available to play on game day.
Will the owners cave to public pressure and sign Kaepernick to a roster for training camp? Only time will tell on that one. However, the ball isn’t in Goodell’s court on this one. It’s in theirs.