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Retaliation will become an issue in Kaepernick collusion grievance

The PFT Live crew assesses the play of all five starting rookie quarterbacks, highlighting how each have flashed their respective upsides.

Colin Kaepernick’s case against the NFL keeps getting stronger.

Although Kaepernick’s grievance regarding his conspicuous unemployment originally arose from a claim of collusion (in other words, a coordinated effort among the teams or through the league office to the teams to keep Kaepernick out of the league), the concept that his ongoing lack of opportunities arise from retaliation will necessarily become part of his claim.

That’s not to say a new grievance or some other lawsuit is coming. Instead, look for Kaepernick to argue that what began as collusion over the notion that the collective belief that Kaepernick is “bad for business” due to his role in sparking protests during the national anthem became team-specific retaliation against his willingness to pursue legitimate legal rights.

Plenty of people think it’s OK to retaliate against an employee who files a legal claim against an employer. In almost every case, it’s not. And for good reason. If retaliation were permitted against those who pursue legal rights against an employer, then (wait for it) no one would pursue legal rights against an employer.

Most recently, Washington refused to consider Kaepernick, hiding behind flimsy football reasons while embracing Josh Johnson, who has gone in less than two weeks from AAF draft to NFL starting lineup. Apart from the business misjudgment that would prompt an NFL team to expect fans to pay for and otherwise support that kind of product, the persistent refusal to embrace a quarterback who led a team to the Super Bowl and who is clearly better than some of the players currently drawing NFL paychecks at some point leads to the conclusion that someone is sending Kaepernick (and all other players) a message regarding what happens when you dare to poke the Shield.

As to the lingering false narratives about Kaepernick, cross out the one about him not wanting to play for Washington. Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reports that Kaepernick would accept a job if offered one. But Washington hasn’t even approached asking that question because, after the broken legs suffered first by Alex Smith and then by Colt McCoy, Washington never called Kaepernick to inquire about his interest.

The phone will continue to not ring. Don’t be surprised if/when the bell rings in his favor at some point in 2019, via a jaw-dropping judgment that finds the NFL violated his rights and that awards him full compensation for what has been wrongfully taken from him.