The drama surrounding the National Anthem protests during the pre-game ceremony of National Football League games may be set for a dramatic conclusion as the man whose name is nearly synonymous with the protests, Colin Kaepernick, is reportedly looking to face President Trump and Vice President Pence in a legal showdown.
The former NFL quarterback alleges that he has been blackballed over the protests and is looking to sue his former employer. He claims the owner and the coaches association are in collusion not to hire him as a result of the bad publicity.
As Yahoo Sports reports, Kaepernick and his lawyers are looking to capitalize on a recent decision from the League (of changing the National Anthem policy). This new effort will reportedly involve Trump and Pence and the two could face federal subpoenas:
With NFL owners agreeing to implement hardened rule changes intended to halt protests during the national anthem on game days, the league may have opened itself to a second round of probing from Kaepernick’s legal team, sources familiar with the collusion case told Yahoo Sports. Specifically, Kaepernick’s representatives could now attempt to document how league owners came to a unified agreement to ban kneeling — fleshing out some of the private conversations that took place, which included talks about the influence of President Donald Trump on the decision. As part of the collusion case, Kaepernick’s attorneys are attempting to draw a direct line between the influence of Trump and the NFL’s decision-making process as it pertains to player protests.
Here’s more, also per Yahoo Sports:
The aim will be a dive into the administration’s political involvement with the NFL during Kaepernick’s free agency and the league’s handling of player protests, sources said. This after recent disclosures that multiple owners had direct talks with Trump about players kneeling during the national anthem. The content of those conversations between Trump and owners – as well as any forms of pressure directed at the league by the administration – are expected to shape the requests to force the testimony of Trump, Pence and other affiliated officials, sources said.
According to the report, Kaepernick’s legal team has questioned more than 11 key individuals in the NFL community, including NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, executive vice president Troy Vincent, Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones, New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft, Houston Texans’ owner Bob McNair and Miami Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross. Others deposed include head coaches and general managers of various teams.
As Axios reports, a subpoena for Trump (and subsequently, Pence) is a much more complicated legal matter for Kaepernick’s legal team:
The problem: Getting testimony from Trump won’t be easy for Kaepernick and his lawyers.
- Thanks to collective bargaining laws, Kaepernick’s request for a subpoena outside of the scope of his contract with the NFL must also be allowed by an arbitrator in the case.
- Even if Kaepernick were allowed to subpoena Trump, there’s an open question if it would even matter. Using his presidential powers, Trump could potentially simply ignore the subpoena — and any attempt to enforce it would require more legal action from Kaepernick.
- The bottom line: If Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani doesn’t think Trump can be subpoenaed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, the same goes for any subpoena from Kaepernick