Sources: NFL anthem policy could provide new ammo for Colin Kaepernick's collusion case

After a litany of high-profile depositions and tens of thousands of pages of document discovery, Colin Kaepernick’s collusion case against the NFL may have caught a second wind at last week’s owner’s meetings in Atlanta.

With NFL owners agreeing to implement hardened rule changes intended to halt protests during the national anthem on game days, the league may have opened itself to a second round of probing from Kaepernick’s legal team, sources familiar with the collusion case told Yahoo Sports. Specifically, Kaepernick’s representatives could now attempt to document how league owners came to a unified agreement to ban kneeling — fleshing out some of the private conversations that took place, which included talks about the influence of President Donald Trump on the decision. As part of the collusion case, Kaepernick’s attorneys are attempting to draw a direct line between the influence of Trump and the NFL’s decision-making process as it pertains to player protests.

Whether Kaepernick’s attorneys will be able to push on with a wider array of depositions or discovery remains to be seen. Ultimately, that decision would be left up to the system arbitrator handling the collusion complaint. While the process is veiled from public view, it’s believed the NFL will eventually ask the system arbitrator to step in and halt the discovery and deposition process — triggering the point in the case where each side is asked to present findings for the arbitrator to weigh. When that would happen ultimately falls on the arguments of Kaepernick’s attorneys to seek additional information versus the arguments of the NFL’s attorneys to bring the information gathering to a halt. Sources told Yahoo Sports it is expected those opposing arguments could take place as soon as the next few weeks.

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Fans show support for Colin Kaepernick
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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Roger Goodell and NFL owners among depositions thus far

As it stands, Kaepernick’s legal team has deposed at least 11 high-profile members of the NFL community. Those include:

  • NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and executive vice president Troy Vincent.
  • Four NFL owners, including the Dallas Cowboys’ Jerry Jones, the New England Patriots’ Robert Kraft, Houston Texans’ Bob McNair and the Miami Dolphins’ Stephen Ross.
  • Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.
  • Three general managers, including the Denver Broncos’ John Elway, Seahawks’ John Schneider and Ravens’ Ozzie Newsome.
The last known deposition to take place in Kaepernick’s case was Kraft, who sat for questioning on May 18.

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