Bob Raissman: Roger Goodell needs to ‘encourage’ NFL Network to air a Colin Kaepernick marathon

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Roger Goodell used an ESPN commissioner’s forum to say he would “encourage” any NFL team to sign Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback the league blackballed after he kneeled during the national anthem in 2016 to protest racism and injustice.

In the wake of the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis cop, and the massive protests that followed, Goodell’s message was not stunning. He, like any politician, witnessed the street passion and acted accordingly. Until Goodell offers a direct apology to Kaepernick, or until a team signs him, all this other stuff is phony lip service, a desperate attempt by the commissioner to leave the perception he is marching arm-in-arm with the protesters.

Goodell, and the NFL’s suddenly silent owners, need to do more.

Throughout the four years this controversy has brewed, the league has only fortified Kaepernick’s image as a rebel with a cause. The NFL, along with its own network, ignored how productive he was during most of his six seasons with the 49ers. The line coming out of the league’s propaganda arm, the NFL Network, parroted by analysts and Tape Heads alike, was Kaepernick’s skills had diminished. It was as if it was impossible for a quarterback, now 32, to regain the magic touch.

How much of the “diminished skills” talk was propagated by Gasbags who just disagreed with Kaepernick’s protest and his method of protesting?

Or how much were they playing to a base of fans who portrayed Kaepernick as unpatriotic. No matter. All aspects of the controversy completely negated a thorough examination of Kaepernick as a player.

It took the focus off any reminiscence of just how good he was and could still be.

This type of analysis could actually whet the appetite of fans who have forgotten the skills he brought to the field and the upside he could bring to a current team. While his football future is still up in the air, instead of just paying lip service, the NFL should actually do something for Kaepernick.

The league should air a Kaepernick Marathon on the NFL Network.

Emphasize his “forgotten” accomplishments on the field by replaying some of his best games. Like his first career postseason start against Green Bay when Kaepernick threw for 263 yards and two touchdowns, while running for 181 yards and two touchdowns in a 45-31 win.

As part of the marathon, NFLN could have a panel of its analyst discuss Kaepernick’s football future and his significance as a social activist. Look, it’s not like NFLN is pushing out 100% quality content as football waits to see if training camps even open. There’s plenty of time to air the Kaepernick Marathon.

Goodell should “encourage” it.


With the new edition of HBO’s “Hard Knocks” featuring both the Rams and the Chargers, could the Jets and Giants eventually be co-featured in the series?

The Jets have turned in one of the classic “HK” performances when they starred in it, but the Giants have always been reluctant to appear.

Both the Rams and Chargers, looking to sell tickets in their new SoFi stadium, volunteered to appear as solo acts on the show. It was decided by the league and HBO they would appear together, making it the first time “HK” has featured two teams. “When the Jets and Giants see how the two-team approach works, they might be convinced to do it,” an NFL TV source said.

The five-week series, debuting Aug. 11 (if training camps actually open), will feature both teams in every episode. How the Rams and Chargers handle NFL protocols surrounding the coronavirus pandemic could make for very interesting TV.

During a “HK” conference call, Rams coach Sean McVay summed the situation up realistically, saying: “It’s crazy. I mean we’re going to social distance, but we play football?” It’s really hard for me to understand all this.”

Me too.


Some Gasbags are downright impatient.

Like Gregg Giannotti, co-host of WFAN’s morning show. On Monday, hours before ESPN’s “Return of Sports” special aired, Giannotti dumped all over the show, which would feature multiple league commissioners.

He basically told listeners not to waste their time watching the program and predicted it would be buttoned down, scripted, providing absolutely no news. Whoops. Giannotti was miserably wrong.

On the show, MLB boss Rob Manfred, who had said he was 100% confident baseball would return, pulled a mega flip-flop, telling host Mike Greenberg: “I’m not that confident (baseball will be back).”

Wait, there’s more. In a man bites dog moment, on the SAME SHOW, NFL commish Roger Goodell made big news when saying he would “encourage” any NFL team to sign Colin Kaepernick. Only a few days earlier Goodell, while discussing Black Lives Matter and the massive protests, did not even mention Kaepernick’s name.

Perhaps the next time around, Giannotti will wait and watch before ripping. Either that, or stick to talking about his home furnishings.

Or hanging out on his boat.


Sorry, we can’t take those seriously who spend more than a minute trying to convince us NFL football will actually play its 2020 season in what is called a “bubble” to shield teams from the coronavirus.

Humor can be found when any VOS Gasbag actually sets up his/her scenario of specific regional sites where the entire NFL season could be played. Purveyors of this wishful thinking must know the NFL will not attempt to pull this off (the league is bigger than Dr. Anthony Fauci), but need something to fill the hours of their daily blabber shows.

Either that, or they want a 2020 NFL season so badly they are willing to say anything to prop up the league — and their own hopes.


Have you ever seen a college football player, with eligibility, publicly challenge his head coach? Now you have. The Oklahoma State running back showed his spirit and commitment while holding coach Mike Gundy accountable this week for insensitivity.


For not including Cam Newton in a poll to determine the greatest Panther ever. Fans can select from the trio of Julius Peppers, Steve Smith Jr. and Luke Kuechly. Newton is totally ignored. Really? He’s a three-time Pro Bowler with a Super Bowl appearance. Kind of feels like somebody wants to erase history.


What (NFL chief medical officer) Dr. Allen Sills said: “We will make adjustments as necessary to meet the public health environment as we prepare to play the 2020 season as scheduled with increased protocols and safety measures for all players, personnel and attendees.”

What Dr. Allen Sills meant to say: “I have a rabbit’s foot, four leaf clover and doing a lot of praying.”


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