Colin Kaepernick has filed a collusion grievance against the NFL under the collective bargaining agreement. The news was first reported by Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman, and has since been corroborated by several other reports.
Jerry Jones, Robert Kraft, and Bob McNair, along with other owners, will give depositions and will be asked to submit phone and email records as evidence in the case, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
It will also include Seahawks owner Paul Allen and coach Pete Carroll, per TMZ, which is notable because Seattle worked out Kaepernick in May. Carroll later called Kaepernick “a starter in this league.”
Mark Geragos, serving as counsel for Kaepernick, released the following statement:
Statement from Mark Geragos, counsel for Colin Kaepernick. pic.twitter.com/Z7rWpuwb2g— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) October 15, 2017
The NFLPA also released a statement on Kaepernick:
Our union has a duty to assist Mr. Kaepernick as we do all players and we will support him.
The NFLPA has been in regular contact with Mr. Kaepernick's representatives for the past year about his options and our union agreed to follow the direction of his advisors throughout that time.
We first learned through media reports today that Mr. Kaepernick filed a grievance claiming collusion through our arbitration system and is represented by his own counsel. We learned that the NFL was informed of his intention to file this grievance before today.
We are scheduling a call with his advisors for early this week.
The NFL declined to comment to SB Nation’s Tyler Tynes on the matter.
Since opting out of his contract with the 49ers in March of 2017, Kaepernick hasn’t even sniffed an opportunity with an NFL team, which is believed to be because of his demonstration during the national anthem. His protest was misconstrued as disrespect for the country, the flag, and the military, which created an incorrect image of him in the eyes of many.
Quarterbacks of lesser talent have been signed since then. Quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Matt Cassel, and Jay Cutler got signed. Even the Bears threw $15 million a year at Mike Glennon.
Collusion doesn’t have to involve all 32 NFL teams. For sports, collusion can involve as few as two teams, or it could be the league and another team.
Kaepernick started his protest against police brutality and oppression against people of color in America last year by sitting for the national anthem. He switched from sitting to kneeling after a discussion with former NFL player and Army Ranger Nate Boyer, and did so throughout the 2016 NFL season.
During the 2017 season, players like Michael Bennett and Marshawn Lynch started sitting for the national anthem in the preseason. Others, like Eric Reid and Kenny Stills, continued to take a knee.
However, the national anthem discussion was heightened after President Donald Trump called any player who kneeled for the anthem a “son of a bitch” who should be fired.
That led to many more demonstrations. More recently, Vice President Mike Pence left a game because of kneeling players, and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said players who “disrespect the flag” won’t play. Attempts to bury Kaepernick’s message worked, by turning the narrative into “respect” for the country and flag.
Now with Kaepernick’s grievance, he’ll attempt to show that NFL owners have colluded to keep him from a job.