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I Told You Colin Kaepernick Had a Case!

Where I Gloat Unseemingly About Colin Kaepernick Winning the Summary Judgment Phase of His Case Against the NFL

From the beginning of Colin Kaepernick’s legal battle with the NFL, I knew he had a case. I never understood what the league was thinking by allowing the matter to go forward. I couldn’t understand all the pundits and commentators who were so certain the NFL brass were “too smart” to have left any evidence. I became even more baffled by the insistence that “there’s nothing to see here” as the NFL continued to comprehensively bungle its reaction to the protest movement Kaepernick started. They seemed like exactly the sort of smug, arrogant bullies who would pile on to persecute someone they thought was weak. They also seemed like the sort of people who would go out of their way to brag about their ill deeds (bullies need an audience, and they need fawning admiration even more). Of course there was evidence of what they did. I never for one second thought Kaepernick was on a fool’s errand.

I wrote the original version of my piece Colin Kaepernick Can Win His Case Against the NFL in October 2017. That’s how long this has been clear to me.

What was clear to me then is becoming clear to others now: Kaepernick can win this thing.

The most important piece of information to take away from the arbitrator’s ruling that Kaepernick’s case will go forward is that all 32 teams are still implicated. If Kaepernick’s legal team can show that 14 or more teams colluded against Kaepernick, then the NFLPA (the players union) can terminate the collective bargaining agreement. That would be a huge win for the players (not that the bulk of that cowardly lot deserves the reward).

What keeps getting left out of all this — and I can’t understand why, because it’s the thing that might make this all go nuclear — is that if Kaepernick can show the league colluded against him, the individuals who orchestrated the collusion will likely have violated federal antitrust laws. They may have committed felonies. In addition, their behavior would put the league at risk of losing its federal antitrust exemption, which allows it to function as a legal monopoly for the purpose of selling its broadcast rights. This puts the NFL’s entire business model at risk. On top of that, if Congress decides to revoke the NFL’s antitrust exemption, it might do away with the concept of the exemption altogether, and that would severely harm the other major sports leagues. The NFL, NBA, and NHL who have nothing to do with the mess the NFL created might get caught in the blast radius if this explodes.

I am honestly in disbelief that the NFL allowed things to get this far. Someone they pay very handsomely to advise them told them about these risks, and they charged ahead anyway.

Their arrogance is unbounded.

Do you remember how squirrelly John Elway was a couple of weeks ago when Kaepernick came up? Expect more of that from owners and GMs. Expect the character assassination attempts against Kaepernick to ramp up over the coming weeks. I don’t think it will matter, though. With the new lines of inquiry opening up over at Electronic Arts concerning Kaepernick’s erasure from Madden NFL, the chances of Kaepernick’s lawyers finding a smoking gun have gotten even better.

When Kaepernick took a knee, the NFL should have found a way to help bring light to the important issue he was trying to raise awareness about: racialized police brutality. The league should have supported him. Barring that, they should have just sat there and ate their food. This vendetta they’ve waged against Kaepernick is backfiring, and it could seriously damage their whole operation. This could turn out to be the most brutal self-own any of us will ever witness, and if that is indeed the case, I will be overcome by utterly indecent levels of schadenfreude as I watch it all unfold.

P.S. This all means Eric Reid has a case too.

*squinting in Nanny of the Maroons* | Read my essay collection, DISPOSABLE PEOPLE, DISPOSABLE PLANET: | IG: kitanyaharrison

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