Raiders Owner Says He'd Welcome Colin Kaepernick 'with Open Arms': 'Deserves Every Chance' in NFL

Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis said he would support Colin Kaepernick if the team’s head coach and general manager opted to add the former quarterback to their roster

Mark Davis ; Colin Kaepernick
Photo: Getty (2)

Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis is sharing his support for Colin Kaepernick's potential NFL return.

During an interview with NBC Sports for an upcoming episode of Race in America: A Candid Conversation, Davis, 66, admitted that, if it were up to him, he would welcome Kaepernick, 34 — the former quarterback who hasn't played in an NFL game since 2016 — with "open arms" to his franchise.

"I believe in Colin Kaepernick," he said. "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."

Despite vocalizing his support, all roster decisions for the Raiders remain in the hands of new General Manager Dave Ziegler and new Head Coach Josh McDaniels, who have yet to publicly show interest in the quarterback.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Davis then compared Kaepernick's NFL experience to Tommie Smith, the iconic sprinter who won gold in the 1968 Olympic Games and famously raised his fist on the podium alongside bronze medalist John Carlos in protest of racism in America.

Colin Kaepernick
Colin Kaepernick. Prince Williams/Wireimage

"I think Colin is a very misunderstood human being," Davis continued. "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."

He added, "I understand [now] where he was coming from. He's got a message for society as a whole."

During the 2016 season, Kaepernick began kneeling while the national anthem played at the beginning of each game to protest racial injustice, police brutality and systemic oppression.

The year following his polarizing protests, Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers. Since then, he has remained unsigned by any NFL team.

Kaepernick and fellow athlete and protester Eric Reid filed grievances with the league in October 2017 that accused owners of colluding to prevent him from signing with a team. The pair settled with the league in February 2019.

Colin Kaepernick. Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty

Earlier this month, Kaepernick spoke candidly about making a return to the NFL while chatting with fellow former players Chad Johnson, Adam "Pacman" Jones and Brandon Marshall for an interview with I Am Athlete.

When Marshall, 38, asked Kaepernick his thoughts on taking on a role similar to one Carmelo Anthony did in the NBA — playing with a team in a smaller capacity — the activist said he is willing to do the same and would then be ready to move into a better position.

"I know I have to find my way back in. So if I have to come in as a backup, that's fine," Kaepernick said. "But that's not where I'm staying. And when I prove that I'm a starter, I want to be able to step on the field as such."

Added Kaepernick: "I just need that opportunity to walk through the door."

Recently, David Robinson, a trainer who has worked with Kaepernick, said that multiple NFL teams have reached out to him with interest in the former quarterback. He told TMZ that "at least" five NFL teams had sent inquiries in the wake of a training session he held with Kaepernick in March 2021.

"A few teams have ... asked how his arm looked," Robinson claimed. "They have reached out and asked about him."

He also confirmed that Kaepernick is still in playing shape (which the athlete has affirmed several times on social media), telling the outlet, "He definitely has the ability to play on somebody's roster — like, right now."

"Like, a couple of the guys that were in the session that were on NFL teams were saying that his arm is just as strong as guys' that we got on our roster right now and can play," Robinson added.

Related Articles