A former White House and NFL communications official is calling for the Minnesota Vikings to sign quarterback Colin Kaepernick amid nationwide protests and riots over the death of George Floyd at the hands of a former Minneapolis police officer.
Kaepernick is a symbol of "racial injustice," former White House Press Secretary and NFL executive vice president Joe Lockhart wrote in an opinion piece published by CNN.
The league, led by activist-players such as Anquan Boldin and Malcolm Jenkins, has made strides advancing the dialogue on issues raised by Kaepernick, Lockhart said, but it was a "mistake" that no team signed him.
"The situation in Minnesota right now offers a unique opportunity to deal with the symbols of racial injustice. As a small, but important step, the owners of the Minnesota Vikings, Zygi and Mark Wilf, can send a strong message by offering Colin Kaepernick a contract to play with the Vikings. Bring him into camp, treat him like any of the other players given a chance to play the game they love."
Lockhart said he was convinced the league had done a "righteous job" responding to the Kaepernick situation, but recent events have proven otherwise.
"Watching what's going on in Minnesota, I understand how badly wrong we were."
Lockhart was press secretary from 1998-2000 under President Bill Clinton. He later joined the NFL as executive vice president of communication and public relations in 2016 until his departure in early 2018. The league was embroiled in some of its most high-profile controversies during Lockhart's tenure, including the Kaepernick case.