ATLANTA — Colin Kaepernick hasn’t played in the NFL for two seasons, but he’s still a topic of conversation during the Super Bowl.
This year, leading up to Super Bowl LIII, some artists reportedly passed on the opportunity to play the halftime show because of the league’s treatment of Kaepernick. Maroon 5, the Super Bowl LIII halftime act, canceled the traditional news conference for the halftime act, leaving many to wonder if it was to avoid questions about other artists saying no to the NFL. Kaepernick hasn’t been signed in two years after he kneeled during the national anthem to bring attention to social causes.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, in what is becoming an annual tradition, was asked about Kaepernick at his Super Bowl news conference Wednesday. First he was asked about artists declining the halftime show as a sign of support for Kaepernick.
“We’re extremely pleased with the diversity, quality and the excitement surrounding our entertainers,” Goodell said. “This is the biggest stage in the world, and I know people want to be part of that.”
Goodell was asked if entertainers turning down the NFL was a sign that a segment of fans feel alienated by the Kaepernick ordeal.
“Just to be clear, we have close to 200 million fans,” Goodell said. “We know there are segments that are going to have different reactions to different things that go on in our league. Ultimately I think people respect and admire the things we do and want to be part of it.”
Kaepernick filed a collusion grievance against the NFL, and that case is still ongoing. Goodell has deflected questions about why Kaepernick hasn’t signed with any team, saying the league office itself doesn’t make those decisions, and he stuck with that Wednesday.
“Our clubs are the ones that make decisions on players they want to have on their roster,” Goodell said “They make that decision individually in the best interests of their team … Maybe they make decisions that another club won’t. And they all want to win.”
Goodell was then asked why he thought Kaepernick remained unsigned.
“I think it’s a repeat of what I just said, which is, that If a team decides Colin Kaepernick or any other player can help their team win, thats what they’ll do,” Goodell said.
More from Yahoo Sports:
• NFL cancels Maroon 5’s Super Bowl news conference
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• Ex-NFL star says he drank Hennessy before NFL games
• Martin: Rams RB never strayed far from West Coast roots
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