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Raiders owner says of quarterback Colin Kaepernick: ‘I would welcome him with open arms’

Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis said he would welcome free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick “with open arms” as the star quarterback continues his quest to return to the league after a six-year hiatus.

In an interview with NBC Sports’s Bay Area affiliate, Davis said he believes that Kaepernick deserves a chance to play in the league, though he suggested the decision lies with team’s coaches and executives.

“I believe in Colin Kaepernick,” Davis said in a “Race in America: A Candid Conversation” episode set to premiere on Wednesday. 

“He deserves every chance in the world to become a quarterback in the National Football League. I still stand by it. If our coaches and general manager want to bring him in or want him to be the quarterback on this team, I would welcome him with open arms,” he added.

The Raiders, who hired a new coach and general manager after the 2021 season, inked star quarterback Derek Carr to a three-year extension last month, according to ESPN.

Kaepernick, 34, recently said he has “unfinished business” in the NFL during an appearance on the “I Am Athlete” podcast last month. It’s been five years since Kaepernick has played professional football. 

“You had those dreams from when you’re a kid. I’m [gonna] be a NFL player, and I’m gonna win a Super Bowl. And for me, I have unfinished business on that front,” Kaepernick told the hosts. 

Kaepernick, who played professionally for the San Francisco 49ers, sparked controversy in 2016 for kneeling during the national anthem before games to raise awareness of police brutality and racial inequality in the U.S. 

Former President Trump referred to Kaepernick’s protest in a 2017 speech at a rally in which he called on league owners to punish players who protested during the national anthem. 

Davis, who took over ownership of the Raiders after his father, Al Davis, died in 2011, compared Kaepernick to Olympic hero Tommie Smith, who famously protested with fellow U.S. sprinter John Carlos at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games.

“I think Colin is a very misunderstood human being,” Mark Davis said. “I’ve gotten a chance to talk to him. I never really knew Colin, and I didn’t understand him. I didn’t understand the kneeling, what that meant initially. Over time, I have learned a little bit more about it.”

“I understand where he was coming from. He’s got a message for society as a whole,” he added. 

The Raiders have a history of giving minorities a chance when others wouldn’t, hiring the first Latino and Black head football coaches in history in Hall of Famers Tom Flores and Art Shell. 

However, former Raiders head football coach Jon Gruden resigned from his position in October after an email chain was leaked to the public that contained racist, homophobic and misogynistic language.

Tags Colin Kaepernick Colin Kaepernick Colin Kapernick Jon Gruden Las Vegas Las Vegas Raiders Las Vegas Raiders las vegas raiders Mark Davis mark davis Mark Davis NFL NFL police brutality San Francisco 49ers Trump

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