Colin Kaepernick Thinks the NFL is Colluding Against Him

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Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has turned himself into a household name over the past year – not through anything he has done on the gridiron but through his social justice routine which includes kneeling for the national anthem.

Perhaps in the hopes of using his newfound fame to pole vault to a better contract with another team, Kaepernick chose to walk away from his San Francisco contract in March only to find that he wasn’t as in demand as he thought. Still unsigned to a team six weeks into the 2017 season, Kaepernick’s attorney announced this week that he was filing a collusion grievance against the NFL.

“We can confirm this morning we filed a grievance under the CBA on behalf of Colin Kaepernick. This was done only after pursuing every possible avenue with all NFL teams and their executives,” attorney Mark Geragos said in a statement to ABC News.

“If the NFL (as well as all other professional sports leagues) is to remain a meritocracy, then principled and peaceful political protest – which the owners themselves made great theater imitating weeks ago – should not be punished and athletes should not be denied employment based on partisan political provocation by the executive branch of our government,” Geragos continued. “Such a precedent threatens all patriotic Americans and harkens back to our darkest days as a nation. Protecting all athletes from such collusive conduct is what compelled Mr. Kaepernick to file his grievance.

“Colin Kaepernick’s goal has always been, and remains, to simply be treated fairly by the league he performed at the highest level for and to return to the football playing field,” the statement concluded.

The NFL has not yet responded to the complaint, which sources say is Kaepernick’s attempt at nullifying the current collective bargaining agreement between the NFL Players Union and the league.

Kaepernick’s grievance comes as dozens of other NFL players and coaches have joined his protest against the national anthem, dividing fans and causing the league’s ratings and ticket sales to take a tumble. President Donald Trump has been in the thick of the controversy, calling on NFL owners to fire players who disrespect the flag.

Kaepernick’s assumption – that his anti-American antics have cost him his career – is probably not wrong, but there’s a leap between that reality and the claim he’s making. The NFL and the owners don’t have to “collude” against Kaepernick to all arrive at the same conclusion: That whatever on-field advantages he brings to a team are outweighed by the damage he will do to fan support. Winning is important; putting butts in seats is more important. As long as NFL owners see Kaepernick as a risk that isn’t worth the reward, he’s going to be sitting on the sidelines.