Ever since Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the ceremonial playing of the national anthem during the NFL pregame show, NFL teams have avoided hiring him as a quarterback.

Although Kaepernick played for the San Francisco 49ers while taking a knee during the Star-Spangled Banner, he soon became a free agent and has not been hired by an NFL team since, despite his talent and skills as a professional quarterback – now he wants to make an NFL comeback in 2022.

Now, Kaepernick claims that by taking a knee during the pregame ceremony, he has helped make the NFL more popular and even increased Nike’s valuation by more than $6 billion. Despite how much good he has done for the NFL over the last few years, he claims that NFL teams still think it is “bad for business” if they hire him as a quarterback, making his time on the NFL blacklist even longer than pessimists thought.

“When I first took a knee, my jersey went to number one. When I did the deal with Nike, their value increased by $6billion,” Kaepernick said during an exclusive interview with I Am Athlete released Monday. “So if you’re talking about the business side, it shows beneficial. If you’re talking about the playing side, come in, let me compete. You can evaluate me from there.”

Kaepernick criticized the NFL for putting its political views ahead of gameplay, choosing to forgo hiring him instead of putting him back on the field where he would be able to help a team win games.

“The NFL is supposed to be a meritocracy,” the former NFL quarterback said. “Come in, let me compete. If I’m not good enough, get rid of me. But let me come in and show you.”

Kaepernick first turned heads back in September 2016 when he began taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem. He only played a few months with the San Francisco 49ers after the incident of him kneeling. Up until that time, he was a prized player with the team and had played six seasons with the 49ers – all of which proved he was as good a quarterback as he said he was.

The last time Kaepernick played an official NFL game was on January 1, 2017. He opted out of his contract with the 49ers in March 2017 and has been unemployable ever since because NFL teams do not want to associate with the quarterback who started the movement of athletes kneeling during the national anthem to spread awareness around racial inequality and police brutality in America.

Although the NFL denies that Kaepernick is on the black list, a former league executive said in 2020 that no NFL team would hire Kaepernick because the controversy caused by his protest was “‘bad for business.”

Kaepernick said, “The narrative that was out there was, oh, you know it’s going to be a media circus. What else comes with him?”

What do you think about Kaepernick’s desire to rejoin the NFL in 2022?

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