Colin Kaepernick
**FILE** Colin Kaepernick (Courtesy photo)

In the summer of 2016, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling were killed by police in Minnesota and Louisiana, respectively. Their deaths were videotaped, and the footage went viral.

People mourned. People raged. People protested.

And starting with then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, NFL players — in a historically unprecedented fashion — joined this fight.

They took a knee or sat or raised a fist during the playing of the national anthem precisely to make people — fans, sponsors, media, and team owners — uncomfortable and to raise awareness.

Kaepernick might have sacrificed his career for this movement. The other players who either took a knee with Kaepernick last year or started this year have received death threats and lost sponsors, according to a report in The Nation.

They’ve been threatened with suspension by team owners. They were mocked by sports-media hucksters, who laughed at the thought that they were accomplishing anything. They’ve had their jobs imperiled and been cursed by a president who, despite his own behavior, has the nerve to lecture people about patriotism. Yet they still persevered.

And what did it get them?

For Kaepernick, it’s a grievance that alleges NFL teams colluded to keep him unemployed. It’s a serious charge that could cost the league untold millions of dollars if a judge agrees.

In the 1980s, Major League Baseball players received $280 million from a settlement of a similar lawsuit alleging collusion by the league.

This week, the Arizona Cardinals dismissed the idea of Kaepernick taking over for their injured quarterback, claiming they don’t carry three people at that position — although several sports media outlets reported that the team does indeed have a history of carrying a trio at the most important spot on the roster.

“By any reasonable metric of professional sports, the failure of any of the 32 National Football League teams to employ quarterback Colin Kaepernick is either an indication of mass stupidity or a scandalous violation of the league’s union agreement,” wrote Los Angeles Times sports reporter Michael Hiltzik.

Kaepernick believes it’s the latter, as is shown by his decision to file a grievance, alleging collusion by the team owners.

Does he have a case? On the face of it, yes, Hiltzik said.

“Statistically speaking, he has capabilities equal to or better than more than a dozen quarterbacks who have started in the NFL thus far this year,” he said.

The free-agent quarterback, who opted out of his contract with the 49ers earlier this year, has hired famed attorney Mark Geragos to lead the fight against the NFL.

Geragos told CNN that he believes there’s a smoking gun that proves the NFL has blackballed Kaepernick because he’s the individual who began taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem to protest racial injustice.

“I am going to predict right now that we will have a smoking gun,” Geragos said. “I’m not going to alert who it will be or what it will be. We have a high-degree of confidence that this will be able to be proved and that there are people who are going to get into an arbitration proceeding, and they’re not going to lie. They’re going to tell the truth.”

Geragos, who has represented singers Chris Brown and the late Michael Jackson, said general managers were told they were not to hire Kaepernick and he expects to produce evidence to prove that.

“It’s beyond any doubt that he should be playing in the league, and that’s all he really wants,” Geragos said.

The New York Post reported that Kaepernick filed his grievance through the Collective Bargaining Agreement, not through the Players Association, yet the NFLPA has indicated it will fully back one of its own with legal support.

Kaepernick has charged that the NFL, in coordination with President Donald Trump, conspired to keep him out of the league after the anthem protests gained a foothold. He has visited with a few teams since leaving San Francisco, yet a fan outcry follows him wherever he goes, and no contract has been presented to him.

Trump has further stoked the polarity, entering his own voice into the anthem-kneeling conversation by imploring owners to release any “son of a b—-” who won’t stand.

The president has gone on a tweet-storm against the NFL and players who take a knee, like Kaepernick.

“As John F. Kennedy aptly noted almost 60 years ago, a president should be a moral leader in the crusade for human rights, and he must exert the great moral and educational force of his office,” Geragos said in a statement. “To support the right of every American to stand up for his rights, even if on occasion he must sit down for them.”

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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1 Comment

  1. I hope Jeff will have more integrity for his clients than Geragos does. GERAGOS took over $100,000.00 from 6 indigent famlilies and didn’t do a thing for them. This is money their friends borrowed as loans to help them for Payment to Geragos to take their husbands’ case. Geragos took the case, took the money, and after several months, he finally called the men and told them that they were going to do their time and ended the call by cursing at them. He was never available and always had Tina (his assistant) give a reason why he was not available. After he got the $100K, he even cursed out the President of the organization who was representing the families. God’s justice for greed and anything else he hates WILL come when it’s least expected. He could have simply turned down the case, but I guess it was a quick $100K. He even stated on a radio broadcast that this was the worst case of injustice he had seen in his 30 years of practice. The CBA, of course, all griends, stood with him when the families tried to sue him to get the money back. What a piece of work!

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