Words by Jason Cordner
Colin Kaepernick’s case against the NFL for collusion will be very difficult to prove, according to many legal experts. However, according to Yahoo Sports, a major portion of the Kaepernick lawsuit will be Donald Trump’s public statements and his connections to NFL owners.
The grievance, which was filed early in October, claims that team owners colluded to prevent him from playing in the NFL since he opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers earlier this year. His legal team will seek to discover evidence of Kap-related communications between team owners, as well as correspondents between owners and the POTUS.
In a statement last month, Kaepernick’s attorney, Mark Geragos, stressed that “athletes should not be denied employment based on partisan political provocation by the Executive Branch of our government.” Trump has spoken out against Kaepernick individually and more generally against NFL player protests. In fact, during a campaign rally in Alabama, Trump encouraged NFL owners to release players who protest against the anthem.
Trump himself could not have engaged in NFL collusion. The CBA governs parties to the CBA, and Trump, who does not own an NFL team, is not a party to the CBA.
On the other hand, it’s at least possible that the President might have spoken with owners, some of whom—including Jones, McNair and Kraft—financially supported his run for the White House and subsequent Presidential Inauguration. In doing so, it’s possible that Trump might have facilitated conversations between owners that led to discussions about Kaepernick.