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.

Colin Kaepernick (Getty Images)
Colin Kaepernick (Getty Images)

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.

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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