Junior Galette hasn’t played a down in the NFL since the 2017 season, but the 32-year-old pass rusher is clearly itching to return to the league.
Galette began his professional career with the New Orleans Saints, totaling 31.5 sacks in five seasons. He then signed a deal with Washington in an effort to rebuild his market value. Back-to-back major injuries kept him out of action until the 2017 season, where he had 20 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble.
Washington offered Junior Galette a two-year deal following the 2017 season, but the front office withdrew the offer after he spoke out on racial pay discrimination in the NFL. Though he wrote an open letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, he hasn’t heard much back from the league.
We sat down with Junior Galette to discuss why he feels that the NFL is blackballing him, his thoughts on Dan Snyder, and whether he’d accept any deal from an NFL team. Let’s get this interview started.
The Spun: Junior, let’s get right into it. Why do you feel the NFL is blackballing you?
Junior Galette: Well, I spoke out on pay discrimination in 2018. We all know what happens when you speak out in the NFL. In 2017, Pro Football Focus ranked me in the Top 12 as far as my pressure rate goes. There was a list of top 50 free agents at that time, which had me at No. 34 at that time. I’m the only person from that list that hasn’t played a down since it came out. The Redskins offered me a two-year deal and thought I played well enough to give me an extension. Trent Murphy, my white teammate that went to Stanford, got offered way more than me though. I also spoke to several coaches from other teams and had an understanding of what my market would be. Sean McVay from Los Angeles tried to bring me in for a workout. Right before I went to put on my cleats and work out in front of the team, an entry-level tells me “Sorry but the workout has been cancelled. There has been a change of plans.” I never got an explanation for why they cancelled. Shortly after, the Seattle Seahawks made a similar pitch to me, but they also cancelled my workout with them at the last minute.
The Spun: Have you heard anything from anyone regarding why you haven’t received another opportunity?
JG: I’m telling you what transpired. I gave you every detail. Washington pulled its deal from me, Los Angeles canceled my workout, and Seattle did the same thing. On top of all that, the Raiders offered me the veteran minimum. I told Jon Gruden, “You offered me less than what your brother did.” I’ve been fighting the last two years to get an answer. I’m in the best shape of my life and I’m waiting for my opportunity. A veteran pass-rusher’s stock should be at an all-time high right now because there’s no preseason. You need a veteran to teach the rookies, so the stock for me should be at a premium high. And yet, I’ve heard nothing.
— SACKMANLIVES (@JuniorGalette93) July 31, 2020
The Spun: Is there a certain situation you’d want in order to return to the NFL, or would you play for the veteran minimum at this point?
JG: I’ve literally been telling teams now that I’ll play for the minimum. In the beginning of May, the Raiders offered the minimum. My agent told me “Hell no, we’re not taking that.” We walked away from the deal and thought if we don’t take it then, we could wait until OTAs passed. There’s no difference if I signed in May or now. Guys go down in training camp all the time.
The Spun: Do you feel like Dan Snyder played a role in your rift with Washington, and do you feel like he may have given a negative review on you to other teams?
JG: Of course. I feel like (former Washington Football Team president) Bruce Allen had a hand in things as well. It was unfair for me to play for such a low amount, meanwhile Trent Murphy – my white teammate – came off a torn ACL and received more guaranteed money than I did. Heck look at Cam Newton. The former MVP had to sign for a cheap deal. When has that happened? And to make it worse, you got Andy Dalton, who hasn’t had a good year in a while, received more money. Jameis Winston threw for 5,000 yards and more than 30 touchdowns. If he was white, general managers would have said there are plenty of tools there to work with. This happens all throughout the league. It doesn’t mean you have to get blackballed, but there is pay discrimination going on in my opinion.
Former Washington linebacker Junior Galette played under Dan Snyder for three seasons, and the experience was unforgettable – and not in a good way.
— RADIO.COM Sports (@RDCSports) July 21, 2020
The Spun: Have you been able to speak to Colin Kaepernick on this issue?
JG: I didn’t get to speak to Kaepernick, but I’ve spoken to his lawyers throughout this process. Kaepernick definitely inspired me though to take pride in having a voice and stand up for myself.
The Spun: You recently called Snyder’s way of running things “repressive.” What do you mean by that?
JG: That’s one word I’d definitely use to describe him. You have to think about how many years he had to change that offensive name for Native Americans, and he would never budge. He even said he would never change it. He literally had to eat those words because he was being so stubborn and arrogant. Just imagine how that owner would feel when a player complains about pay discrimination.
The Spun: You’ve been lobbying for Washington Red Wolves. Do you think that becomes the new name?
JG: No, that wasn’t me throwing a name out there. That was a name that people from the personnel department told me was the highest bidder to win, but then they went temporarily with the Washington Football Team.
Didnt I already tell you guys what the name is? https://t.co/VGxz42Av38
— SACKMANLIVES (@JuniorGalette93) July 15, 2020
The Spun: You were teammates with Drew Brees. What’d you think about the whole situation involving his national anthem comments?
JG: Drew Brees is a class act, and I have a lot of respect for him as a player and a man. When it comes to the whole movement taking place right now, he got that wrong.
The Spun: Do you think Brees will show people he can be an ally to the Black Lives Matter movement?
JG: I think he’s doing that right now. I wish he would become an advocate for me because he knows me as a player and his words hold a lot of weight.
The Spun: Hypothetically, if the Saints called you and offered a deal, would you sign with them?
JG: My attorney is in New Orleans. I love New Orleans. I got family and friends down in New Orleans. It would mean everything to me if I could go back.
— SACKMANLIVES (@JuniorGalette93) July 29, 2020
With the regular season a little over a month away, it’ll be interesting to see if Junior Galette can sign with a new team ahead of the 2020 season.