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Kaepernick’s legal team expands search terms for digital evidence


at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on December 24, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.

Sean M. Haffey

The Colin Kaepernick collusion grievance had a good week as it relates to the ongoing shunning of a quarterback by teams that clearly have needs for better quarterbacks. The Kaepernick collusion grievance may soon have plenty of good days and weeks as the process of gathering evidence commences.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Kaepernick’s legal team has expanded the scope of search terms that will be used when gathering evidence from text messages, emails, and other digital evidence. This means that a much greater haystack of communications will be available for the search for one or more needles -- or large-caliber smoking guns -- that would prove collusion.

Those terms (including obvious words like “Kaepernick” and “Trump”) will be used to track down messages exchanged between people on the same team and people who represent different teams that may have any relation, direct or indirect, to the search for quarterbacks and the decision not to sign that specific quarterback. League office internal and external communications also will be relevant.

Also, given the curious manner in which the Colts have handled the Andrew Luck shoulder injury, PFT has learned that Colts owner Jim Irsay could end up being questioned under oath regarding his team’s failure to pursue Kaepernick at any point this year. And here’s the thing about questioning Jim Irsay under oath -- as Adam Schefter of ESPN learned the hard way earlier this year when interviewing Irsay for a podcast, Irsay has a tendency to respond to the greeting “how are you” with a disjointed, 14-minute stream of consciousness. And that tendency to ramble aimlessly can be deadly during a deposition, when anything the witness says can and will be used against him -- and when every aspect of every response becomes the basis for follow-up questioning.

Schefter reported earlier in the day that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Texans owner Bob McNair, and Patriots owner Robert Kraft will also be questioned under oath. Those depositions have not yet happened (some have interpreted Schefter’s report to mean that they have), and it was known that they were targets. Geragos said on his podcast last week that McNair will be the first one to be questioned due to his “inmates running the prison” remark (which suggests institutional collusion, not the independent operation of 32 different businesses), and Geragos said on the PFT PM podcast that Kraft and President Trump flew together the day before President Trump told a crowd in Kentucky that the owners fear an “angry tweet” from the Commander-in-Chief if they give Kaepernick a job.

As to Jones, he’s been at the forefront of the “make them stand” movement. He also lacks a veteran backup to Dak Prescott, and Kaepernick would have made plenty of sense, given that he and Prescott have similar skills and abilities. Ditto for Kaepernick and Deshaun Watson, which means that McNair will be addressing not only his “inmates” remark but his failure to pursue Kaepernick.

Geragos has said on multiple occasions that this all could go away quickly, if some NFL team simply were to give Kaepernick a job. But it continues to be clear that the only team that would be interested in Kaepernick plays in Seattle, and that they’d want him only if Russell Wilson suffers a season-ending injury. As to the other 31 teams, the chances of Kaepernick getting a job remain somewhere south of slim and none.