Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is exploring his options. As most people know, he has been a free agent since being released by the 49ers last March. He was the original player to #TakeAKnee to bring attention to racial injustice in our country.
It was announced by Sports Illustrated that Kaepernick has hired a lawyer and is pursuing “a collusion grievance against the NFL under the CBA.”
Colin Kaepernick is pursuing a collusion grievance against the NFL under the CBA, source says. NFL spokesman says he is checking on it
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) October 15, 2017
Sports Illustrated discussed the issue of collusion back in March shortly after Kaepernick was released. A definition of collusion was included:
Collusion occurs when two or more teams, or the league and at least one team, join to deprive a player of a contractually earned right. Such a right is normally found in the collective bargaining agreement signed by a league and its players’ association. For example, the right of a free-agent player to negotiate a contract with a team cannot be impaired by a conspiracy of teams to deny that a player a chance to sign.
While evidence will be a key factor in the lawsuit, and may be hard to prove, it certainly does seem evident that there is something going on when one of the best quarterbacks in the league is left sitting on the sidelines without a team.
Kaepernick’s attorney, Mark Geragos, issued the following statement regarding the filing:
“We can confirm that 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.
“If the NFL (as well as all 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. 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 be simply be treated fairly by the league he performed at the highest level for and to return to the football playing field.”
The question remains whether Kaepernick will ever wear the uniform of an NFL team. We can hope that the petty snobbery will stop and at least one team will see fit to pick up his contract. To leave a player sidelined simply because you don’t like his political stance is a new low for team owners who are all too happy to exploit players as long as they just keep their mouths shut.
Kaepernick is not the first player that has been ostracized due to political views — the NFL ousted kicker Chris Kluwe in 2013 for his views on gay marriage and equality and his activism on LGBTQ rights.
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