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NFL may still oppose effort to question owners, Goodell

Cleveland Browns v New York Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 13: The NFL shield is painted in gold and black after a game between the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on September 13, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The new color scheme is to commemorate this years’ Super Bowl witch will be the 50th edition. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)

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With an ever-expanding list of potential witnesses to be questioned during sworn depositions as part of the discovery process in the Colin Kaepernick collusion grievance, there’s an important point to keep in mind: The NFL has yet to respond to the requested roster of deponents. The league could, as it has done in past cases, fight aggressively against any obligation to make people like Roger Goodell, Jerry Jones, Robert Kraft, and others available to testify.

Kaepernick’s lawyers have offered to take the depositions anywhere the requested witnesses prefer, and Kaepernick’s lawyers have agreed in advance to a reasonable (in their view) time limit for each session. Stephen Burbank, the System Arbitrator who eventually will resolve the case, will preside over any disputes regarding evidence to be produced or witnesses to be questioned. At this point, disputes are indeed expected.

The NFL had no comment regarding the possibility of opposing efforts to question witnesses.

Regarding Kaepernick’s effort to get text messages or emails from owners and other key figures, the requests were narrowly tailored as to time, date, and search terms, in order to anticipate the various objections that the NFL’s lawyers will make. Still, don’t be surprised if lawyers who bill by the hour and who pride themselves on keeping the opponent from getting what it wants try to restrict access not only to witnesses but also to documents.