President Donald Trump was asked if the controversial figure behind the kneeling protests during the national anthem should be allowed to play in the NFL again, and he answered enthusiastically that he should.
The president was responding to a question from WABC-TV's Scott Thurman on Wednesday when he made the comments about former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who hasn't played since the 2016 season.
"If he deserves it, he should. If he has the playing ability. He started off great, and then he didn't end up very great in terms of, as a player," said Trump.
"He was terrific in his rookie year and then I think he was very good in his second year, and then I think something happened so his playing wasn't up to snuff," he continued.
"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," Trump concluded. "If he can't play well, I think it would be very unfair."
The inquiry came during a national debate over recent deaths of black men, including George Floyd in Minneapolis, and most recently, Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, by police officers.
The president had previously told his rally audience in September 2017 that kneelers should be fired from their teams.
"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag, to say get that son of a b***h off the field right now?" he said to booming applause.
A recent poll found that a majority of Americans believed it is appropriate for players to kneel on the field as a protest. Also, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday that he hopes Kaepernick will help "guide" the league on issues pertaining to social justice, and he hopes a team will sign him.
Here's the video of his Kaepernick comments:
"Absolutely I would," support @Kaepernick7 getting a 2nd shot in the @NFL -- @POTUS in my interview today on racism… https://t.co/tPZti2Fhrl— Scott Thuman (@Scott Thuman) 1592420022.0