Colin Kaepernick has filed a grievance against the NFL, accusing team owners of collusion under the league’s collective-bargaining agreement. Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman broke the news, and ABC’s Stephanie Wash released a copy of the suit’s first page.
Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers at the end of last season, but no team has offered him a roster spot since. The claim filed by Kaepernick and his lawyer, Mark Geragos, argues that this goes against the CBA’s rules prohibiting teams from working together to make decisions about player contracts.
The alleged blackballing of Kaepernick came after the quarterback’s news-making national anthem protests last season. These demonstrations against racial inequality and police brutality have made him a political lightning rod and favorite subject of attack from the president himself, who has reveled in bashing Kaepernick and other NFL players who protest during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has denied that Kaepernick’s absence from the league is the result of blackballing. “I believe that if a football team feels that Colin Kaepernick, or any other player, is going to improve that team, they’re going to do it,” he told ESPN. Still, after six weeks of empirical evidence that Kaepernick would, in fact, represent an improvement for some teams across the league, he is still without a job. With this suit, the league’s owners may have to defend their reasoning.