Colin Kaepernick

To prove collusion, Colin Kaepernick better be able to provide the smoking gun

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AP

To prove collusion, Colin Kaepernick better be able to provide the smoking gun

The only thing you need to understand about Colin Kaepernick’s action against the NFL is this.

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.

Oh, there’s a lot of gobbled-lawyerese in any court proceeding; that’s why lawyers lawyer.

But the fact is this: Kaepernick and/or his lawyers have to produce the smoking gun, as Marvin Miller did in the ‘80s collusion cases against Major League Baseball, In those, the owners conspired not to sign free agents, did so in writing, and got their hats blocked in court.

Then they did it again, and lost again. And then, clever fellows that they were, they did it a third time, and got caught once more.

Lesson learned: From that moment, collusion became a paperless enterprise. No smoke, no gun. No gun, no case. It couldn’t have been simpler.

Now you may try to apply logic like, “Brandon Weeden,” or “Brett Hundley,” or “the owners are . . .” And you may well be correct. In fact, you almost certainly are.

But being correct isn’t the same as proving it, and without proof, Kaepernick’s case is an excellent example of well-constructed circumstantial evidence that will amount to little. The bar for this is high, and like everything else in life, it requires receipts.

Therein lies Kaepernick’s problem. Unless, of course, he has the receipts – statements on tape, or written memoranda, or rogue texts. In that case, therein lies, the league’s problem.

It is hard to imagine that the 32 owners, with all the lawyers at their command, would be so stupid as to leave collectable evidence laying about, but that’s what people assumed in the ‘80s, too, and baseball had to pay $280 million for its carelessness.

Still, that isn’t way to bet. Barry Bonds filed a lawsuit along similar grounds when he couldn’t get work after being released by the Giants in 2007, and had no corroboration for what he suspected was a blackball against him for, well, for being Barry Bonds. So he lost.

And I suspect that is what we have here as well. Kaepernick’s suit risks nothing for him, as his NFL days are almost certainly over anyway, so he may as well have his day in court if not the field.

But if he has the goods and can present them coherently before a judge, we’ve got an entirely different game, and one more reminder that we are in bloodsport territory between owners and players now, and there are no rules.

Except that one about paperwork. That one never changes.

Still unsigned, Colin Kaepernick files grievance against NFL owners

Still unsigned, Colin Kaepernick files grievance against NFL owners

UPDATE (5:15pm PT on Sunday): A few hours after reports surfaced that former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick would file a grievance against NFL owners, his attorney Mark Geragos issued the following statement confirming the grievance.

Shortly thereafter, the NFL Players Association released a statement regarding Kaepernick's grievance:

***

It's Week 6 of the 2017 NFL season and Colin Kaepernick still does not have an NFL job.

Now he's planning to do something about his situation.

According to multiple national reports, the former 49ers quarterback is planning to file a grievance against the NFL owners for collusion.

Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman was first to report news of a grievance being filed. CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora has confirmed the news.

Kaepernick has hired attorney Mark Geragos, according to Freeman.

Kaepernick made national headlines last year when he started taking a knee during the national anthem to protest social injustice in the country. While some have argued that Kapernick simply isn't good enough as a reason why he hasn't signed, some believe he is being "blackballed" by owners who are concerned over possible negative reaction from fans.

Kaepernick praises Eminem for freestyle rap diss against Trump

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USATSI

Kaepernick praises Eminem for freestyle rap diss against Trump

Colin Kaepernick, Donald Trump and Eminem. The classic trio for a sports story. 

On Tuesday night at the 2017 BET Hip-Hop Awards, that's exactly what happened. Eminem took Twitter by storm with a freestyle rap aimed at Donald Trump during the show.

During the rap, Eminem called out Trump for the president's fight against NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. 

He gets an enormous reaction
When he attacks the NFL so we focus on that
Instead of talking Puerto Rico or gun reform for Nevada
All these horrible tragedies and he’s bored and would rather
Cause a Twitter storm with the Packers. …

Now if you’re a black athlete, you’re a spoiled little brat for
Tryna use your platform or your stature
To try to give those a voice who don’t have one.

A few verses later, Eminem raised his right fist before defiantly saying, "This one's for Colin!"

Kaepernick took to social media to show his appreciation for the Detroit rapper. 

I appreciate you @eminem ✊🏾

A post shared by colin kaepernick (@kaepernick7) on