While it’s unclear if Colin Kaepernick can win a collusion grievance against the NFL, the case has already put NFL owners in an uncomfortable situation of giving over personal records.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter said three of the NFL’s most prominent owners — Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots and Bob McNair of the Houston Texans — will be deposed in the case and asked to turn over cell phone and email records related to the case. Schefter said other owners and league officials will be deposed too, but those three are the ones that were confirmed to Schefter by a league source.
Jones, Kraft and McNair are all interesting subjects for this case in their own way. Jones has been the most vocal about the national anthem protests, saying he’d bench players for kneeling. McNair’s comments about “inmates running the prison” regarding anthem protests drew a harsh reaction from his players. And Kraft having to give over cell phone records is humorous considering the NFL lashed out against Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in deflate-gate after he destroyed his cell phone. Kraft also matters in the case because Kraft was with President Donald Trump the day before Trump said, “It was reported that NFL owners don’t want to pick (Kaepernick) up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump.”
It’s unimaginable the NFL would have left a paper trail regarding Kaepernick. Kaepernick has been unsigned since becoming a free agent more than eight months ago, and many other quarterbacks who have far worse resumes than Kaepernick have been signed. For instance, when the Texans lost Deshaun Watson on Thursday, they hustled to sign quarterbacks Matt McGloin and T.J. Yates, although Kaepernick is the superior quarterback.
While it seems pretty clear Kaepernick would have a job somewhere in the NFL if not for his national anthem protest, it’s also going to be tough to prove the NFL colluded against him. But that’s why the owners are being deposed and their records will be turned over. If the owners were dumb enough to explicitly collude against Kaepernick and they left a record of it, that would be one of the biggest stories the NFL has seen in a long time.
And if the owners did communicate about Kaepernick via cell phones or email, there will be some really nervous moments around the league coming up.
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