Ted S. Warren/Associated Press
Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard discussed his failure to speak out about issues of systemic racism in the past in a conference call with reporters Thursday.
Ballard was asked about the team’s decision not to sign Colin Kaepernick when it needed a quarterback during the 2017 season.
“We didn’t listen,” he said. “I didn’t listen in 2017. I love Darius Butler. He tried to explain it. I thought I heard it. I didn’t. We didn’t listen.”
In addition to speaking about Kaepernick, Ballard addressed the importance of offering support to the black community: “I cannot sit here and remain silent. We cannot be silent every time our black community screams for help. … Black lives matter, and I don’t know why that’s so freaking hard for the white community to say.”
Colts owner Jim Irsay told reporters in August 2017 that Ballard and then-head coach Chuck Pagano “came semi-close” to signing a quarterback in his mid-to-late 30s but said, “It wasn’t Kaepernick.”
Andrew Luck required offseason shoulder surgery and wound up missing the entire year. They acquired Jacoby Brissett from the New England Patriots on Sept. 2, eight days before the start of the regular season.
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Journeyman Scott Tolzien started for the Colts in Week 1 before Brissett took over for the rest of the season.
Kaepernick has been a free agent for more than three years since opting out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers in March 2017.
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