Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) said he believes Colin Kaepernick is being treated unfairly by the NFL after the former quarterback held a public workout near Atlanta.
Johnson repeated some of Kaepernick’s talking points, saying he has been “working out for three years” and has been ready to play for an NFL team for three years.
“He’s a young man. He was at the top of his game when he got shut out,” Jonhson told TMZ, adding: “Let him back into the league.”
The NFL has denied barring Kaepernick from playing football. Over the weekend, the league organized the public workout for Kaepernick before he moved the venue to another location.
When asked further, he suggested that Congress might do something about the situation.
“I think it’s merited … you’ve got a league-wide ban on Kaepernick back over the last three years” because he protested during the national anthem before games.
“Kaepernick is a victim,” he stressed.
“It’s possible that Congress can do something,” Johnson said. “Congress oversees the anti-trust exemption that we gave the NFL. The NFL is doing quite well with that anti-trust exemption; maybe it’s time for us to take a fresh look at it.”
Johnson serves on the House Judiciary Committee.
On Monday, Kaepernick’s representative said he isn’t optimistic about his client’s chances of getting signed by a team.
“I hope so, but I don’t know,” agent Jeff Nalley told ESPN. “I’ll be honest; I’m a little bit pessimistic because I’ve talked to all 32 teams. I’ve reached out to them recently, and none of them have had any interest. I’ll tell you this: No team asked for this workout. The league office asked for this workout.”
The NFL said about 25 teams were expected to have a representative watch the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback. Only eight teams ultimately showed up, reports said, according to a CBS Sports report.
“I’ve got to tell you what, I’ve got to hand it to Colin. He stepped up, showed he’s in shape,” Nalley told ESPN. “I talked to the NFL people out here today. They said his arm talent is elite, that it’s the same as when he came out of college. I even asked them: ‘If you want to get him on a scale, see what he weighs.’ They said, ‘We don’t need to. He looks ripped. He looks in great shape.’”
Kaepernick is best known for kneeling in protest during the playing of the national anthem before games. The move triggered a backlash among fans, and some threatened to boycott the league and its products. Kaepernick has said that he’s protesting against racism and police brutality.