The attorney representing quarterback Colin Kaepernick has an uphill fight to prove, without having a “smoking gun,” that National Football League teams conspired to prevent him from playing this season, The Washington Post reported.
Nevertheless, attorney Mark J. Geragos is moving forward with his case, notifying NFL executives and team owners on Friday that he is requesting electronic communication, phone records and their testimony as first steps to prove collusion. The Dallas Cowboys’ Jerry Jones ,Houston Texans’ Robert McNair and New England Patriots’ Robert Kraft are among the owners specifically named.
“Every day that goes by and he doesn’t get signed is another nail in the NFL’s defense,” Geragos told The Post, declining to share more about a possible smoking gun.
Kaepernick, a Super Bowl quarterback, remains unsigned this season. Last year he set off what has become a contentious national debate after he began kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and injustice toward minorities.
Here are three things to know about Kaepernick’s collusion case:
—Kaepernick’s legal team has a high burden of proof
NBC Sports said there’s one main thing to understand about this case: “If he has paperwork proving that the owners conspired to keep him out of football, he wins. If he doesn’t, he almost certainly loses.” The news outlet pointed to the successful collusion case of Marvin Miller against Major League Baseball, in which he showed from documents that the owners conspired not to sign free agents.
—Weighing the factor that teams have signed less skilled quarterback this season
According to ESPN, most reasonable people agree that Kaepernick is more skilled than most quarterbacks on team rosters. But that goes nowhere. The NFL’s collective bargaining agreement requires a higher burden of proof than simply to point out that Kaepernick is good enough to play, yet no team has signed him.
—-Trump’s influence on team owners is complicated
President Donald Trump has weighed in numerous times against Kaepernick, shaming owners for not firing players who kneel during the anthem. Sports Illustrated said the president “has signaled that he’d prefer teams not sign free agents who would kneel during the anthem.” The president’s involvement could be considered collusive if the owners, behind the scene, communicated their displeasure with Kaepernick through Trump.