Sources: Dolphins owner Stephen Ross deposed in Colin Kaepernick grievance

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was the latest NFL owner to be deposed in the Colin Kaepernick grievance, less than two months after Ross tied the league’s thought process on player protests to the political saber-rattling of President Donald Trump.

Ross’ deposition took place Tuesday, sources familiar with the grievance told Yahoo Sports. It made him at least the third NFL team owner to sit for questions in the process. The Dallas Cowboys’ Jerry Jones and Houston Texans’ Bob McNair have also been deposed in the case, as well as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome.

While the substance of Ross’ deposition is sealed, it’s believed the proceedings were aimed at dissecting recorded statements Ross made to the New York Daily News in early March in which he indicated the NFL’s perspective on players kneeling during the national anthem was directly influenced by Trump. Specifically, Ross was recorded saying that his personal view on kneeling as a form of protest against racial and social injustice changed in relation to Trump’s framing of the act as being anti-military. On its face, such an admission could provide Kaepernick’s legal team with a solid foundation in efforts to prove Trump directly influenced the quarterback’s employment status.

Related: Fans show support for Colin Kaepernick: 

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Sep 12, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; A San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (not pictured) fan holds a sign after the game against the Los Angeles Rams at Levi's Stadium. The 49ers won 28-0. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
At the start of the game protestors take a knee in support of the movement started by NFL player Colin Kaepernick, outside Lincoln Financial Field, in South Philadelphia, PA, on September 24, 2017. Similar protest are staged around the nation after US President Donald Trump named Kaepernick a Son of A Bitch at a recent rally. (Photo by Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
At the start of the game protestors take a knee in support of the movement started by NFL player Colin Kaepernick, outside Lincoln Financial Field, in South Philadelphia, PA, on September 24, 2017. Similar protest are staged around the nation after US President Donald Trump named Kaepernick a Son of A Bitch at a recent rally. (Photo by Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, USA - SEPTEMBER 10: Protesters stage a rally against the National Football League (NFL), supporting Colin Kaepernick, outside the Soldier Field stadium in Chicago, United States on September 10, 2017. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - AUGUST 23 : People participate in a rally against the National Football League (NFL), supporting Colin Kaepernick in Manhattan borough of New York, United States on August 23, 2017. (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
01 September 2016: A fan supports San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the NFL preseason game between the San Francisco 49ers and the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 01: Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers signs autographs for fans after a 31-21 win over the San Diego Chargers during a preseason game at Qualcomm Stadium on September 1, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Sep 25, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) shoots a selfie with fans outside the locker room during pre game warmups against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 01: Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers signs autographs for fans after a 31-21 win over the San Diego Chargers during a preseason game at Qualcomm Stadium on September 1, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers signs an autograph for a fan prior to playing the Los Angeles Rams in their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on September 12, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 04: A fan dressed up as Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers watches from the seats during the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on December 4, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the 49ers 26-6. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 16: Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers interacts with fans before the game against the Buffalo Bills on October 16, 2016 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. Buffalo defeats San Francisco 45-16. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
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As Ross told the Daily News in March, “I think initially I totally supported the players in what they were doing, because it’s America – people should be able to really speak about their choices and show them [in] doing that. But I think when you change the message, about, is it support of our country or the military, it’s a different message. When that message changed, and everybody was interpreting it as that was the reason, then I was against the kneeling.”

“[Trump’s] message became what kneeling was all about,” Ross continued. “From that standpoint, that’s the way the public is interpreting it. So I think that’s really incumbent upon us to adopt that, because that’s how I think the country is now interpreting the kneeling issue.”

If Kaepernick’s lawyers are building their case to prove Trump had influence over the NFL, Ross’ statement is arguably the most unambiguous that any owner had made in that regard. It could make his deposition only slightly less pivotal than that of the Cowboys’ Jones, who had direct conversations with Trump about player protests and the NFL.

See Jerry Jones through the years: 

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Jerry Jones through the years
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(Original Caption) Dallas: Jerry Jones, millionaire oilman from Arkansas holds a press conference at the Dallas Cowboys headquarters 2/25 evening during which he told those gathered that his former college roommate and teammate at Arkansas Jimmy Johnson, would replace Tom Landry as the Cowboys head coach.
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1990: Owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys on the field looks on prior to the start of an NFL football game circa 1990. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
CIRCA 1991 - Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones in this portrait on the field circa 1991 before an NFL football game. Jones has owned the Cowboys from 1989-present. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1995: Owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys talks with his head coach Barry Switzer (R) while on the field prior to the start of an NFL football game circa 1995. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 19: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talks with the media after departing an NFL owners meeting 19 September in Atlanta, Georgia. Jones and the Dallas Cowboy organization is being sued by NFL Properties in excess of 300 million USD for violating league agreements concerning club trademarks and product endorsements. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read DOUG COLLIER/AFP/Getty Images)
TEMPE, AZ - JANUARY 28: Owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys holds up the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the Cowboy defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX on January 28, 1996 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. The Cowboys won the Super Bowl 27-17. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys Cliff Harris is honored by owner Jerry Jones with being added to the ring during halftime of a 26 to 10 loss to the New York Giants on October 10, 2004 at Texas Stadium in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys team owner and general manager Jerry Jones (left) and head coach Bill Parcells (right) during a press conference in Oxnard, California Friday, July 28, 2006. The Dallas Cowboys start training camp and two-a-days Saturday in Oxnard. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)
Terrell Owens, left, looks on as Dallas Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones explains his thoughts on the risk of signing Owens at a press conference announcing Owens as a member of the Cowboys at Valley Ranch in Irving, Texas, Saturday, March 18, 2006. (Photo by Stewart F. House/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)
Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones poses with Atlanta Owner Arthur Blank before their team play on December 16, 2006 in Atlanta, Georiga. Dallas defeated Atlanta by the score of 38 to 28. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
07 SEP 2008: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones during the Cowboys NFL game against the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland Ohio September 7, 2008. (Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JULY 15: Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, during a visit to Mexico's soccer team training session at Cowboys Stadium on July 15, 2009 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Mario Castillo/Jam Media/LatinContent/Getty Images)
DALLAS - OCTOBER 30: (L-R) Dallas mayor Tom Leppert, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, NBA Commissioner David Stern and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban sit together on stage as Dallas is announced as the host for the 2010 NBA All-Star Game during a press conference on October 30, 2008 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2008 NBAE (Photo by Kerre Randel/NBAE via Getty Images)
09 January 2010: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones with Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin #19 following the Dallas Cowboys 34-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in a NFC Wild-Card game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Ray Carlin/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, left, and former Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith stand with Smith's bust during the Enshrinement Ceremony for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, Saturday, August 7, 2010. (Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones leaves the field following a morning practice during Cowboys training camp, Tuesday, July 31, 2012, in Oxnard, California. (Ron Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 29: (L-R) Texas debutante Jessica Catherine Jones, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Texas debutante Haley Alexis Anderson attend the 58th International Debutante Ball at The Waldorf-Astoriaon December 29, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Owner of the Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones arrives at the 2013 Vanity Fair Oscar Party at Sunset Tower on February 24, 2013 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Mark Sullivan/WireImage)
ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 09: Jerry Jones, Owner, President and GM of the Dallas Cowboys attends the press conference for the 2014 The Cowboy Rides Away tour at Dallas Cowboys Stadium on September 9, 2013 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Essential Broadcast Media)
ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 28: Owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys is pictured on the field before the start of the game against the Denver Broncos at AT&T Stadium on August 28, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 19: Dallas Cowboys Owner, President and General Manager Jerry Jones (L) and Gene Jones attend the 50th Academy of Country Music Awards at AT&T Stadium on April 19, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 12: Owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys signs some autographs for Cowboys fans before the game aagainst the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on October 12, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
19 December 2015: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones signs autographs prior to the NFL regular season game game between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Jets at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. New York won the game 19-16. (Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire) (Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 06: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones looks on before the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 6, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. Dallas defeated Cleveland 35-10. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, center, talks with head coach Jason Garrett, left, and Stephen Jones in the Dallas Cowboys' Draft War Room at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas, on Thursday, April 27, 2017. (Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 23: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones gets a Arkansas Razorbacks Jersey for the 1961 Arkansas National Championship team during the game between the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Texas A&M Aggies on September 23, 2017 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 22: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones stands on the field looking on while his team warms up prior to the start of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on October 22, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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Ross’ continued inclusion in the deposition process is a strong indication that Kaepernick’s legal team doesn’t appear to be relenting on making Trump a sizable part of the collusion allegation against the league. That would also explain why New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft also continues to be on the deposition list, despite the Patriots never being in play for Kaepernick’s services.

Kraft’s existence on the deposition list is at least partially believed to have roots in his appearance on Air Force One with Trump on March 19, 2017. The two shared a flight one day before the President made a speech in which he appeared giddy at the thought that NFL owners were scared to sign Kaepernick because of the president’s potential scorn.

“Your San Francisco quarterback, I’m sure nobody ever heard of him,” Trump said to a crowd in Kentucky on March 20. “… There was an article today that was reported, that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. Do you believe that? I just saw that.”

That moment would ultimately be a precursor to Trump making Kaepernick a consistent subject when speaking to his political base. He’d take that political rhetoric further the following September, when he railed against kneeling as an affront to national patriotism.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!” Trump said in September.

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NFL players, owners protest after criticism from Trump
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NFL players, owners protest after criticism from Trump
Sep 24, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts players kneel during the playing of the National Anthem before the game against the Cleveland Browns at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Baltimore Ravens players kneel for the American National anthem during the NFL International Series match between Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium on September 24, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 25: Members of the Dallas Cowboys link arms and kneel during the National Anthem before the start of the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 25, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
NFL Football - Jacksonville Jaguars vs Baltimore Ravens - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - September 24, 2017 Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan links arms with players during the national anthems before the match Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: (L-R) Wide recceivers Chris Moore and Breshad Perriman of the Baltimore Ravens pray prior to kickoff during the NFL match between The Jacksonville Jaguars and The Baltimore Ravens at Wembley Stadium on September 24, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mitchell Gunn/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Jacksonville Jaguar players show their protest during the National Anthem during the NFL International Series match between Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium on September 24, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
NFL Football - Jacksonville Jaguars vs Baltimore Ravens - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - September 24, 2017 Patrick Omameh of the Jacksonville Jaguars kneels during the U.S. national anthem before the match Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
NFL Football - Jacksonville Jaguars vs Baltimore Ravens - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - September 24, 2017 Jacksonville Jaguars players kneel during the U.S. national anthem before the match Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
NFL Football - Jacksonville Jaguars vs Baltimore Ravens - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - September 24, 2017 Jacksonville Jaguars players kneel during the U.S. national anthem before the match Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Jacksonville Jaguar players show their protest during the National Anthem during the NFL International Series match between Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium on September 24, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: (Editors Note: This image has been turned black and white) Jacksonville Jaguars enter te stadium during the NFL International Series match between Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium on September 24, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Sep 24, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills players kneel in protest during the National Anthem before a game against the Denver Broncos at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Denver Bronco players kneel in protest during the National Anthem before a game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 25, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) and teammates stand next to service members holding a giant US flag during the national anthem prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; The Cleveland Browns team stand and kneel during the National Anthem before the start of their game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers link arms during the national anthem prior to the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin (44) middle linebacker Tahir Whitehead (59) running back Ameer Abdullah (21) outside linebacker Steve Longa (54) defensive end Jeremiah Ledbetter (98) defensive end Armonty Bryant (97) defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson (91) and defensive end Cornelius Washington (90) kneel during the national anthem before the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
September 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets players lock arms during the national anthem before the game against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Members of the Denver Broncos kneel during the playing of the national anthem prior to a game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 25, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; The Dallas Cowboys players, coaches and staff take a knee prior to the National Anthem before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Jacksonville Jaguars players kneel during the playing of the United Sates national anthem before a NFL International Series game against the Baltimore Ravens at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2017; Foxborough, MA, USA; Members of the New England Patriots take a knee during the national anthem before a game against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Some of the Miami Dolphins take a knee during the anthem prior to the game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2017; Foxborough, MA, USA; Members of the New England Patriots kneel for the national anthem before the start of the game against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
NFL Football - Jacksonville Jaguars vs Baltimore Ravens - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - September 24, 2017 Jacksonville Jaguars players kneel during the U.S. national anthem before the match Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
NFL Football - Jacksonville Jaguars vs Baltimore Ravens - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - September 24, 2017 Patrick Omameh of the Jacksonville Jaguars kneels during the U.S. national anthem before the match Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Sep 24, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Oakland Raiders players sit on the bench during the national anthem prior to their game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder stands with cornerback Josh Norman (24) and cornerback Bashaud Breeland (26) and safety D.J. Swearinger (36) during the playing of the national anthem before the game between the Washington Redskins and the Oakland Raiders at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Oakland Raiders players sit on the bench during the national anthem prior to their game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2017; Carson, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Marcus Peters (22) protests next to running back Charcandrick West (35) and defensive tackle Roy Miller (98) during the National Anthem prior to the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at StubHub Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2017; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers tight end Lance Kendricks (84) and tight end Martellus Bennett (80) sit on the bench during the national anthem prior to the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Recording artist Meghan Linsey kneels after singing the national anthem before the game between the Tennessee Titans and the Seattle Seahawks at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
September 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets players lock arms during the national anthem before the game against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
NFL Football - Jacksonville Jaguars vs Baltimore Ravens - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - September 24, 2017 Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan links arms with players during the national anthems before the match Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 24: Members of the Chicago Bears stand arm-in-arm during the National Anthem before a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Soldier Field on September 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: Justin Houston #50 of the Kansas City Chiefs is seen taking a knee during the National Anthem before the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at the StubHub Center on September 24, 2017 in Carson, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
NFL Football - Jacksonville Jaguars vs Baltimore Ravens - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - September 24, 2017 General view during the national anthems before the match Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
At the start of the game protestors take a knee in support of the movement started by NFL player Colin Kaepernick, outside Lincoln Financial Field, in South Philadelphia, PA, on September 24, 2017. Similar protest are staged around the nation after US President Donald Trump named Kaepernick a Son of A Bitch at a recent rally. (Photo by Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 25: Strong safety Tyvon Branch #27 of the Arizona Cardinals links arms with staff and players during the National Anthem before the start of the NFL game against the Dallas Cowboys at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 25, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Finally, in October, Trump went further, delving deeper into Kaepernick’s kneeling and how it should have impacted the quarterback’s job status.

“I watched Colin Kaepernick [in 2016], and I thought it was terrible, and then it got bigger and bigger and started mushrooming, and frankly the NFL should have suspended him for one game, and he would have never done it again,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “They could have then suspended him for two games, and they could have suspended him if he did it a third time, for the season, and you would never have had a problem. But I will tell you, you cannot disrespect our country, our flag, our anthem. You cannot do that.”

With all of those statements viewed inside of the context of what Ross told the Daily News about Trump realigning his own perspective on kneeling, it creates potentially connective tissue between Kaepernick’s employment, the NFL and the president’s influence. Whether that will ultimately be enough to prove some kind of collusion remains to be seen.

The depositions are expected to roll on after this week, with Kraft and others still in line for their day with Kaepernick’s legal team.

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