June 03, 2023

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Sports: Colin Kaepernick may have a better shot at proving collusion than initially suspected

Colin Kaepernick’s attorney has confirmed that the former 49ers quarterback has filed a grievance accusing NFL owners of collusion.

Since the news broke, it has been speculated that Kaepernick would have a tough road ahead of him if he hoped to win the case but that taking the NFL to court may serve other purposes beneficial to his cause, including terminating the league’s existing collective bargaining agreement and giving the players more leverage in a new round of negotiations.

Kaepernick’s attorney, Mark Geragos, however, argues that Kaepernick’s case against the NFL isn’t as far-fetched as many initially believed.

Speaking with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Geragos said he had a “high degree of confidence” that he would be able to prove that NFL team owners colluded against Kaepernick.

“I am going to predict right now that we will have a smoking gun,” Geragos said. “There are people who are not going to get into an arbitration proceeding and they are not going to lie. They are not going to lie. They are going to tell the truth and they’re going to say what happened. They were told no, you’re not going to hire him.”

Geragos’ view has support from at least one high-profile observer. Mike Florio, the NFL insider who previously worked as an attorney, on Tuesday laid out how easy it may be for Kaepernick to prove his case. Writing for ProFootballTalk, Florio noted that collusion could occur simply when teams or team employees reach an agreement, explicit or implied, not to pursue a potential signing. The reason behind the collusion is not important.

Florio then posited that finding proof of collusion may not be difficult.

According to Florio, Geragos has already told the league to preserve any digital evidence that could be relevant to the case, and it would take only one small statement to serve as a “smoking gun.”

NFL organizations are made up of sprawling networks of professionals, from coaches to scouts to front-office management and everything in between, and many of them are constantly networking in a league that has a high job-turnover rate.

It would not be a stretch to imagine team employees discussing current events — conversations that would inevitably turn to Kaepernick. It is also not hard to imagine that employees from different teams discussed Kaepernick’s job prospects in the NFL.

As Florio puts it, “Even something as simple as ‘we can’t have that’ or ‘he’s bad for business’ or ‘he’s a distraction’ or any other collective coordination among the league office and at least one team or multiple teams can trigger a finding of collusion.”

You can watch an excerpt of Geragos’ appearance on CNN below.


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