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 NFL.com 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.