Joe Namath: Eric Reid, Colin Kaepernick are good enough to be signed
Joe Namath believes players like Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid remain free agents because of their participation in national anthem protests, but the Hall of Fame quarterback does not think that means league owners have banded together to blacklist them.
In an appearance on Fox Business’s “Varney & Co” Thursday, Namath was asked for his thoughts on Reid’s grievance. While he said he does not believe NFL teams are guilty of collusion, he thinks both Reid and Kaepernick should have been signed by now.
“It’s very complicated, but it’s also very simple,” Namath said, via TMZ Sports. “We have 32 teams and 32 owners. In this world, if the employer is not pleased 100 percent or close to it with an employee, they don’t let them work. I think in Eric’s case and even in Kaepernick’s case, they’re good enough players to be out there having a job. Why aren’t they? I don’t know. I don’t believe in the collusion, though. I believe the NFL is smarter than that.”
When the host noted that the NFL’s viewership was down 9 percent last year “largely because of the anthem protests,” Namath seemed to disagree.
“I don’t think the sport has been damaged, personally,” he said. “The professional sport of football is going to stay and continue to grow. It’s a great sport. People love the game and there’s always going to be people wanting to play the game.”
It may sound like Namath is being a fence-sitter with the issue, but it is possible for Kaepernick and Reid to have not found work in the NFL without collusion taking place. If NFL owners have decided individually to not sign them because of their involvement with anthem protests, it would not be collusion unless two or more teams made the decision together.
For what it’s worth, Namath has defended Kaepernick against at least one fellow Hall of Famer in the past. The New York Jets legend seems to be on the side of freedom of expression, though he indicated on Thursday that he believes owners are within their rights to not sign players for no reason other than their participation in the protests.