Colin Kaepernick won an important victory today in his lawsuit versus the NFL. TMZ reports that the motion to dismiss filed by the NFL attorneys was thrown out by the arbitrator.
The NFL had filed legal documents stating that Kaepernick’s claims that owners colluded to keep him from being signed to a contract or playing in the league were completely baseless and that there was no supporting evidence to back up Kaepernick’s claims. Several NFL owners were deposed as part of the arbitration process. The arbitrator has thrown out the NFL’s request to dismiss, which means that now Kaepernick and the NFL will go to trial.
This development has led to curiosity about what evidence Kaepernick may have supplied to back up his claims. The case would not be going to court without some hard evidence, which should come out at trial if not before.
Kaepernick was a quarterback with the San Francisco 49ers in 2016, though he had opted out of his contract and would have been a free agent at the end of the season. In a move to protest police brutality and systemic racism against black people in the United States, Kaepernick chose to kneel while the national anthem was played before the game.
His simple gesture was intended to protest violence and support the Black Lives Matter movement. It also had an unintended side effect of being incredibly controversial. NFL players, fans, and owners were sharply divided. Some players, like Eric Reid, supported Kaepernick’s efforts and began kneeling for the anthem as well.
However, the gesture did draw significant ire from fans and commentators. For some reason, many took what Kaepernick was doing as a sign of disrespect to the military, although the military was not part of the equation in the least as Kaepernick made clear that he was protesting police brutality. Even President Donald Trump weighed in, suggesting that players who knelt should fined, fired, or suspended.
Kaepernick is a solid quarterback, with one of the better rushing games in the league. It is suspicious that he was not signed following the controversial 2016 season, as free agents are often highly sought after or courted by other teams in the league. Kaepernick is alleging that owners and other higher-ups in the NFL colluded together to keep him from getting another contract. The trial means that many NFL owners and recruiters may be called upon to testify regarding the case.