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Kaepernick Files Grievance Against NFL Owners, Alleges Collusion to Keep Him Out

Kaepernick Files Grievance Against NFL Owners, Alleges Collusion to Keep Him Out

Maybe he shouldn’t have opted out of his contract….

Former NFL quarter Colin Kaepernick has filed a grievance against NFL owners because he believes they colluded to keep him out of a job due to his protests during the national anthem.

Kaepernick first protested in the 2016 preseason when he took a knee during the national anthem. He claimed he protested against racial injustice across the country. The protests took off, with many players following his lead.

Kaepernick hired criminal defense lawyer Mark Geragos, who has represented Michael Jordan and musician Chris Brown. CBS Sports reported this statement from Geragos:

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 the 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 simply be treated fairly by the league he performed at the highest level for and return to the football playing field.

He could have had a job this season if he had not chosen to opt out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers. The contract gave him $16.9 million plus bonuses for 2017.

Kaepernick claims collusion, but an article from puts facts out there that the quarterback and his backers do not want to acknowledge (emphasis mine):

Since he led San Francisco to its first Super Bowl appearance in 18 years in 2012, Kaepernick’s production has tapered off significantly. The quarterback’s already-low completion percentage dipped well below 60 percent in 2015 and 2016 and he has struggled to make strong throws past 10 yards and outside the numbers.

His off-field actions aside, the economic interest in Kaepernick from a football standpoint will be an intriguing sub-sub-plot to free agency. He hasn’t produced enough consistently to be a starting quarterback in 2017 for any team that’s not rebuilding, but his skill-set will still be valuable in a backup role.

Kaepernick visited with the Seattle Seahawks, but head coach Pete Carroll passed on him because he believed Kaepernick wanted to be a starter and not a backup.

Will Brinson at CBS Sports pointed out that the Baltimore Ravens floated around Kaepernick’s name when starting quarterback Joe Flacco got hurt in the preseason, but the team “felt as if they needed to check with fans and sponsors before agreeing to sign Kaepernick.” They ended up sticking with Ryan Mallett.

Despite the Ravens decision, Brinson wrote:

It’s difficult to imagine Kap being “blackballed” in the truest sense of the word — 32 NFL owners and teams are not conspiring to keep someone from working. But it is not unreasonable to believe that Kaepernick’s decision to take a knee has cost him an opportunity to play football, which is likely the basis for his grievance.

The grievance will likely garner a lot of support, but it may be irrelevant in terms of how successful it can actually be.

But let’s say owners have individually decided (not huddled together and specifically concocted a plan to keep out Kaepernick) not to sign the quarterback due to his protests, can you honestly blame them? The protests have brought so much attention to the league and not always in a good way. Even President Donald Trump has waded into the discussion, calling for “sons of bitches” to be fired if they kneel for the anthem.

The protests have put owners and the entire league on a thin line between appeasing the left who back Kaepernick and the right who want politics out of sports. Viewership has already gone down (also because the game has become unwatchable due to ALL THE PENALTIES) along with people not attending games. My parents have given up on football completely. I have a few friends who still watch, but won’t turn on the game until the anthem is over.

The NFL is a business so therefore the 1st Amendment does not apply to it. Another example? The New York Times changed its social media policy, even for their employees’ personal Twitter and Facebook accounts. Look, if your actions have a negative affect on a business then that business will do what it can to save itself. Without a profit, it cannot function. Without a profit, these athletes cannot make the millions they receive. If you have baggage in your past, any business will take that into consideration when considering you for a position.


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buckeyeminuteman | October 16, 2017 at 10:07 am

The NFL is a private company and can hire whomever they please. He needs to grow up and go away.

    AmandaFitz in reply to buckeyeminuteman. | October 16, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    I received this from a friend today- I agree with her.

    Subject: Excellent Perspective

    Excellent perspective…

    To the NFL Players

    You graduated high school in 2011. Your teenage years were a struggle. You
    grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. Your mother was the leader of the
    family and worked tirelessly to keep a roof over your head and food on your
    plate. Academics were a struggle for you and your grades were mediocre at
    best. The only thing that made you stand out is you weighed 225 lbs and
    could run 40 yards in 4.2 seconds while carrying a football.

    Your best friend was just like you, except he didn’t play football. Instead
    of going to football practice after school, he went to work at McDonalds for
    minimum wage. You were recruited by all the big colleges and spent every
    weekend of your senior year making visits to universities where coaches and
    boosters tried to convince you their school was best. They laid out the red
    carpet for you. Your best friend worked double shifts at Mickey D’s.
    College was not an option for him. On the day you signed with Big State
    University, your best friend signed paperwork with his Army recruiter. You
    went to summer workouts. He went to basic training.

    You spent the next four years living in the athletic dorm, eating at the
    training table. You spent your Saturdays on the football field, cheered on
    by adoring fans. Tutors attended to your every academic need. You attended
    class when you felt like it. Sure, you worked hard. You lifted weights, ran
    sprints, studied plays, and soon became one of the top football players in
    the country.

    Your best friend was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. While you were
    in college, he deployed to Iraq once and Afghanistan twice. He became a
    Sergeant and led a squad of 19 year old soldiers who grew up just like he
    did. He shed his blood in Afghanistan and watched young American’s give
    their lives, limbs, and innocence for the USA.

    You went to the NFL combine and scored off the charts. You hired an agent
    and waited for draft day. You were drafted in the first round and your
    agent immediately went to work, ensuring that you received the most money
    possible. You signed for $16 million although you had never played a single
    down of professional football.

    Your best friend re-enlisted in the Army for four more years. As a combat
    tested sergeant, he will be paid $32,000 per year.

    You will drive a Ferrari on the streets of South Beach.
    He will ride in the back of a Blackhawk helicopter with 10 other combat
    loaded soldiers.

    You will sleep at the Ritz. He will dig a hole in the ground and try to

    You will “make it rain” in the club. He will pray for rain as the
    temperature reaches 120 degrees.

    On Sunday, you will run into a stadium as tens of thousands of fans cheer
    and yell your name. For your best friend, there is little difference between
    Sunday and any other day of the week. There are no adoring fans. There are
    only people trying to kill him and his soldiers. Every now and then, he and
    his soldiers leave the front lines and “go to the rear” to rest. He might
    be lucky enough to catch an NFL game on TV. When the National Anthem plays
    and you take a knee, he will jump to his feet and salute the television.
    While you protest the unfairness of life in the United States, he will give
    thanks to God that he has the honor of defending his great country.

    To the players of the NFL: We are the people who buy your tickets, watch
    you on TV, and wear your jerseys. We anxiously wait for Sundays so we can
    cheer for you and marvel at your athleticism. Although we love to watch you
    play, we care little about your opinions until you offend us. You have the
    absolute right to express yourselves, but we have the absolute right to
    boycott you. We have tolerated your drug use and DUIs, your domestic
    violence, and your vulgar displays of wealth. We should be ashamed for
    putting our admiration of your physical skills before what is morally right.
    But now you have gone too far. You have insulted our flag, our country, our
    soldiers, our police officers, and our veterans. You are living the American
    dream, yet you disparage our great country. I am done with NFL football and
    encourage all like-minded Americans to boycott the NFL as well.

    National boycott of the NFL for Sunday November 12th, Veterans Day Weekend.
    Boycott all football telecast, all fans, all ticket holders, stay away from
    attending any games, let them play to empty stadiums.

    Pass this post along to all your friends and family. Honor our military,
    some of whom come home with the American Flag draped over their coffin.
    Please “share”, “copy and paste”.

      AmandaFixt: Your best friend was just like you, except he didn’t play football.

      Instead, he worked at the local elementary school, and was loved and respected by his students and co-workers. Over several years, he was stopped by police 52 times. The 53rd time, he was shot dead by police.

Consider this: the Packers (for example) bring Kaepernick in for a one-day tryout. They put him through the usual paces — throwing, some timed runs, a physical, etc.

At the end of the day they say, “we appreciate Mr. Kaepernick coming in. We’ve decided to go with someone else.” Off the record, the word filters out that Kaepernick just wasn’t that good (and of course he’s going to be rusty, he hasn’t been playing /practicing with a team and private workouts are no substitute). He’s certainly not going to look like a starter right now, and he might not even look like a #3.

Now then: how does Kaepernick surmount that in a lawsuit? “We gave him the same chance we’d give any other QB who has been out of football, yer honor. He couldn’t clear the bar.” The lawsuit is dead right there.

    Ironically enough, the Packers find themselves in need of QB.

      tarheelkate in reply to tkc882. | October 16, 2017 at 6:49 pm

      The Packers already have two back-up quarterbacks. They don’t need Kaepernick as a third.

      JOHN B in reply to tkc882. | October 16, 2017 at 10:18 pm

      If the Packer’s signed him the fans “might” boo a little – which is their right. However, Kaepernick would then call the fans racists and demand that the government and the league bring in BLM thugs to police the stadium and force the fans to cheer.

      And many NFL announcers and broadcasters would see nothing wrong with that.

How about saying openly, “we treated him exactly as we would treat a player who expressed white supremacist views”?

He must be getting low on cash. This claim is a stunt to get money out of the league

Such a precedent threatens all patriotic Americans and harkens back to our darkest days as a nation.

I might wonder to exactly which “darkest days” he alludes. There are multiple possibilities.

Or, rather, I’d wonder … if I gave a rat’s patoot.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to tom_swift. | October 16, 2017 at 11:31 am

    RE: “darkest days”

    That’s Racist!

    Exiliado in reply to tom_swift. | October 16, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    Are they implying that Krapernick is a “patriotic American”?

    Methinks he is quite the opposite, and I’m pretty sure a lot of Americans out there agree with me.

      Milhouse in reply to Exiliado. | October 17, 2017 at 4:34 am

      He explicitly said he wasn’t. The definition of “patriotism” is devotion to one’s country; when asked why he knelt he said it was to express his disdain for his country.

“Save me from my stupidity. Please!”

Mary Chastain: Even President Donald Trump has waded into the discussion, calling for “sons of bitches” to be fired if they kneel for the anthem.

Trump went so far as to threaten them with changes to the tax law.

Mary Chastain: But let’s say owners have individually decided (not huddled together and specifically concocted a plan to keep out Kaepernick) not to sign the quarterback due to his protests …

If. Kaepernick claims collusion.

Mary Chastain: Viewership has already gone down

Not as much as Nascar.

    Colonel Travis in reply to Zachriel. | October 16, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Trump is one of countless politicians (D) and (R) to call for an end to tax breaks for NFL teams – especially for new stadiums. Lots of people agree with him, including me. Where have you been the past 20 years? Trump isn’t king and can’t change federal, state and local tax laws.

    Proving collusion and claiming collusion are two different things. If he had evidence of collusion, he would have had to have gotten it within the past 90 days or else he couldn’t file a grievance under the CBA. Has he hinted in the past 90 days that he’s found evidence? His lawyer’s statement didn’t say it found evidence. It must be a “clear preponderance of the evidence” according to the CBA that the NFL office and a team, or two or more teams got together and said – do not sign him. Even if he had record of teams discussing that he was a PITA and responsible for the NFL going down the tubes, that isn’t evidence of collusion.

    NASCAR attendance has been gradually declining for the past 10 years. There are many reasons why – a lack of patriotism isn’t one of them. The NFL’s drop came out of nowhere, relative to two years ago, and has been abrupt.

      Colonel Travis: Trump is one of countless politicians (D) and (R) to call for an end to tax breaks for NFL teams – especially for new stadiums. Lots of people agree with him, including me.

      The difference is that Trump, acting as chief executive of the United States, linked it to their exercise of free speech.

      Colonel Travis: Proving collusion and claiming collusion are two different things.


        Milhouse in reply to Zachriel. | October 17, 2017 at 4:52 am

        Why should their tax breaks not be reexamined in light of their demonstrated lack of patriotism? After all, they got them in the first place out of some sort of sense that they were good for national morale or some such thing; if they reject that role then they should lose the breaks.

          Milhouse: Why should their tax breaks not be reexamined in light of their demonstrated lack of patriotism?

          The First Amendment entails that the government can’t impose burdens on someone because of the content of their political speech.

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | October 18, 2017 at 2:43 am

          Reconsidering a special privilege someone has been given, in light of his having expressed opinions inconsistent with the purpose for which that privilege was granted in the first place, is not imposing a burden.

          What you’re essentially claiming is that Congress is required to treat all opinions exactly the same, and may not make it public policy to promote one opinion (e.g. patriotism, or racial tolerance) over another (e.g. treason, or racial hatred). That is just not the case.


          The President of the United States expects players to be *forced* to stand for the anthem.

          Trump: The NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem. Total disrespect for our great country!

    ConradCA in reply to Zachriel. | October 16, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Trump has can exercise his first amendment rights.

    heyjoojoo in reply to Zachriel. | October 17, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Can this even be described as a lucid thought?

regulus arcturus | October 16, 2017 at 11:06 am


If, at 29 years old, Kaepernick is having trouble completing passes outside the hash marks past 10 yards then he hasn’t been keeping up his conditioning and since that’s apparent then no team is going to want him, even as a backup. What head coach is going to want to change his game plan totally to account for that kind of limitation on the passing game?

    snopercod in reply to Dave. | October 16, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    The only training Kaeperinck needs to keep up with is repeating, “Would you like fries with that”

    InEssence in reply to Dave. | October 16, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    Yeah, Kap’s numbers were always on the bottom end. I thought he was protesting, because that was the only way he could get attention. His play wasn’t anything to inspire conversation.

Paul In Sweden | October 16, 2017 at 11:46 am

Kaepernick should have applied himself towards football instead of grossly overestimating both his ability and the demand for radical left-wing activists on the field in NFL Sports Entertainment.

Kaepernick certainly should not blame others for his poor career choices.

Someone should ask Kaepernick which teams’ current starting QB should step aside to make a place for him? Which currenrt starting QBs is he better than? Which ones, exactly, is he qualified to replace becasue he is, y’know, simply better?

And the questioner should not let him sidestep and deflect the question. Because that is exactly what he is claiming. Let his answers be public. That should put him in good with his fellow players.

A competent arbitrator would ask him the same questions. And then dismiss his grievance.

The biggest hurdle that Kaepernick faces is proving that the NFL owners actually colluded to keep him out of the NFL. It is often difficult to prove this unless you can get of of those involved in the collusion to support your claim that it exists.

Next he has to prove that the NFL is a strict meritocracy. We know it is not, by the number of players who have become unemployable because of non-performance related behaviors and associations.

And, finally, he has to prove that his performance actually places him in a position where he should be hired as a quarterback. As football is a team sport, this is very hard for any player at a single position to do. Now, if he had gone to the CFL and was a starting quarterback there, he might have some ground for complaint. But, this is not the case. He turned down a chance to play for the Montreal Alouettes.

No, this is simply a legal ploy to force the NFL to give Kaepernick a job to avoid more adverse publicity. It has no real merit and is nothing more than a negotiating tool.

    JHogan in reply to Mac45. | October 16, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    He also turned down an opportunity to continue playing for the 49ers. He was under contract with them through at least 2017. He opted out of his contract. So, basically, he quit a starting QB job to become a free agent. A player — an intelligent and rational player, that is — does not do this without being absolutley certain he can get a starting job elsewhere.

    However, Kaepernick does not strike me as intelligent or rational. What rational player, a player who wants to continue playing foorball, walks away from a contract paying about $18M for the next year without be absolutley certain he can easily get another at least comparable gig?

What about the fact that other NFL players have protested and are still playing? Doesn’t that show his allegation as moot?

He’s an option QB who became a vegan and is now the size of a wide receiver. People compare Brady’s diet to his but the difference is Brady actually improves himself year after year. He hasn’t improved his skill sets unlike other QB’s that play that style. The fact that he has lost muscle mass and arm strength tells you he is not serious about playing in the NFL as a starter. Honestly he probably saw the writing on the wall and is using this to stay in the NFL or get paid off. RG3 is an example of what happens when you don’t have the build to play that style in the NFL.

So the league is going to investigate itself?
If the CBA is voided

They’ve treated me the same for decades. Class action time.

ugottabekiddinme | October 16, 2017 at 2:14 pm

What’s his girlfriend’s view of this grievance?

After all, wasn’t she the source of all that sterling advice that led to his . . . career moves?

A business will often tolerate a good deal of, umm, “stuff,” from someone who’s a high performer. Perhaps Kaepernick’s lawsuit happened because he truly believes he belongs in that category?

The plea that I have seen lately from players is that they are NOT disrespecting the flag or the vets or the national anthem. They claim that their actions are in fact, respectful of those things because kneeling is the most humble of all gestures. They simply do not or don’t want to see how they are wrong. If I came into their house of worship and had a demonstration for some cause that their church did not want to address they would ask me to leave. They would say that it disrespects their service. To most of us the flag and the national anthem are moments that we stop what we are doing and offer our attention to that event. To have someone interrupt it, even silently, can only be construed as disrespectful. I will never back down from my belief and no amount of “Explaining” will make me accept their reasons.

    Paul In Sweden in reply to inspectorudy. | October 16, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    A better example than church would be a restaurant where the wait staff takes a knee or protests while serving your meal. Who wants to patronize a place like that.

      Oops. Sorry. I hit down vote and not reply.

      Great comment. It caused me to think of a dozen similar vignettes, and they’re hilarious. Every single job that people do, all kneeling in protest before setting to work. Your whole day filled with kneeling workers as you go to the grocery store, the bank, the barber, everyone taken up the same ridiculous protest. See, there’s a great comedy sketch here that SNL wouldn’t touch.

    Milhouse in reply to inspectorudy. | October 17, 2017 at 4:40 am

    They claim that their actions are in fact, respectful of those things because kneeling is the most humble of all gestures.

    And that would be plausible if it were not coming in the context of Kaepernick’s initiation of this custom, and his explicit declaration that he did so to show disdain for his country.

Anyone here be surprised that Kap allegedly had quite a bit higher Wunderlich score than Peyton Manning?

Q: How do you tell if an entertainment milllionaire is a moron? ( — Aside from his acting like colin pumpernickel, or whatever his name is)

A: They hire Mark “Gloria Alred” Geragos as their lawyer.

Even Michael Jackson quickly figured-out Geregoas sucked, firing him, and instead hiring Thomas Mesereau:

“Tom Mesereau :Michael Jackson thought Mark Geragos was in way over his head and Fired Him:”

Pumpernickel deserves Geragos.

I just came across this most appropriate definition of “NFL” – it now means “No Fans Left”.

Talk about a bad headline:

Kennesaw State Cheerleaders Join National Anthem Protests, Will Kneel

How about

Kennesaw State Cheerleaders Join National Weinstein Protests, Will Kneel

Can Colin even spell collusion?

I think not hiring people who insult your customers is common among a wide spectrum of businesses.

Pumpernickel is the ‘soup nazi’ of football: no anthem for you!

“I made REALLY STUPID decisions but you still have to pay me millions of $$$”