The fallout from the NFL player protests during the national anthem has taken us to some strange places. The President of the United State co-opted it as one of his misdirections du jour. A prominent pizza baron is even blaming the protests for his company’s poor performance. And it turns out that one of the NFL’s brashest owners might actually be behind that pizza sauce-soaked pushback.
All the while, Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback who started the protests last season as a way to draw attention to racial injustice and police brutality, has watched from the sidelines, but not the NFL ones. Despite the fact that more than half the teams in the NFL have needed to try out or bring in replacement quarterbacks along the way, Kaep has seemingly been blackballed from the league even though he’s likely a better candidate than most of the has-beens and never-weres that are working in his stead.
A few weeks back, Kaepernick full understood what was happening and decided to file a grievance under the CBA for collusion against the owners. If anyone assumed this was just some kind of tactic to get owners to quickly change their tune, the most recent news from ESPN’s Adam Schefter tells a different story.
According to Schefter, multiple NFL team owners will not only be deposed as part of the case but they will also be asked to turn over cellphone and email records. Specifically, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Houston Texans owner Bob McNair were all singled out “based on their public statements about either Kaepernick or sideline protests during the national anthem,” per ABC News.
Jones and McNair have gotten in hot water with their recent comments about the protests. Jones has spoken candidly about how the protests are hurting the league while McNair recently compared letting NFL players protest to letting “the inmates run the asylum.” While Kraft has been much more level in his statements about the protests, he’s also a known supporter and ally of Donald Trump, which certainly colors the public perception of his intentions.
Other owners, team officials, and league officials will also be deposed. ABC News says that Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen and the San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York are on that list as well. Kaepernick played for York’s 49ers last year before he was cut, while Allen’s Seahawks brought kicked the tires on the QB during the offseason before deciding not to take him on.
There isn’t much incentive in this for Kaepernick to settle or walk away. He’s basically got nothing to lose at this point. It’ll be fascinating to see what comes out from the depositions and record releases as well as how the NFL tries to deflect collusion accusations in spite of the evidence to the contrary.