Fresh off the recent shitshow of bad calls and no calls impacting the conference championship games a week and a half ago—which the NFL has never officially addressed outside of fining Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman for his hit and responding to a New Orleans Saints fan's lawsuit—Roger Goodell stood before the media on Wednesday to serve his ultimate purpose: as flak jacket for 32 billionaires.
After sidestepping questions about the controversial pass-interference-that-(apparently)-wasn't, Goodell was asked about the continued absence of Colin Kaepernick from any NFL roster. Goodell, once again, trotted out some meritocratic fantasy as the real reason Kaepernick's number hasn't been called and because, you know, teams have collectively decided they would literally have five-interceptions-in-a-half Nathan Peterman before even thinking of a guy who brought Jim Harbaugh to the Super Bowl.
"I’ve said it many times privately, publicly that our clubs are the ones that make decisions on players that they want to have on their roster," Goodell said at a press conference in Atlanta, the site of Sunday's Super Bowl.
"I think if a team decides that Colin Kaepernick or any other player can help their team win, that’s what they’ll do," he added. "They want to win, and they make those decisions individually in best interest of their club."
This is the classic sports response that everyone wants to believe is true—especially with a gladiator sport like football—but is belied by everything the NFL does.
For this to be true, we are to believe that the Buffalo Bills looked at Peterman and Kaepernick and objectively determined that Peterman would net them more wins.
Similarly, the Arizona Cardinals had to have looked at Sam Bradford, who has averaged just 9 starts in a career that spanned 9 years (including a season lost to an ACL injury)—and still managed to throw 61 interceptions—and thought he'd be a better option than Kaepernick.
(The Cardinals cut Bradford less than two months into the season and will be selecting first in April's draft.)
And we haven't even gotten to Blaine Gabbert. Blaine Gabbert! Blaine! Motherfucking! Gabbert! The Tennessee Titans, under Goodell's logic, literally thought Blaine Gabbert would help their team more than Colin Kaepernick.
Washington! Oh my god, Washington. Due to injuries, they brought in MARK SANCHEZ in the middle of a playoff push as a starter rather than Kaepernick. They then went ahead and signed Josh Johnson—a man who had not thrown a pass since 2011 and who backed up, you guessed it, Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco where they ran a West Coast offense, just like Washington—instead of Kaep.
I could go on and on, or you could read on and on about more quarterbacks who made it onto NFL rosters this year right here—but you get the point. It's all bullshit.
There is no way Roger Goodell or anyone else can credibly say that he or she looked at two quarterbacks, one of whom was Colin Kaepernick, and objectively determined that the other guy would help more than Kaepernick. And do you know why? Because Kaepernick hasn't even gotten a phone call, let alone a tryout from a team.
Roger Goodell's statements today imply that 32 organizations decided the two, or three, quarterbacks on their rosters would help the team more than Colin Kaepernick without ever bringing him in and watching him try to run their offense.
The rest—that he's been blackballed for having the nerve to speak out against institutional oppression and systemic racism at a time when it is so plain to see, that at best teams are scared of the backlash they believe he might bring from their racist fan bases, and that everyone in Washington should be fired from their positions and kicked out of the NFL for life if they legitimately thought those two guys were better options than Kaepernick—is messy but almost certainly true (that last part definitely is).
So if you don't have the stomach to ponder the hard truths of today—you really should, though—there's a cleaner route you can take. Evaluate the differences between what people say, and what they do, and please stop letting billionaires bullshit you.
This article originally appeared on VICE Sports US.