The collusion cases filed by Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid against the NFL are moving through discovery. We have now reached the stage where parts of the testimony are being leaked. For a start, internal team communications show clearly that many teams viewed Colin Kaepernick as a starting quarterback. There is also a cunning trailer of yet more damaging testimony via the classic speculated “mystery witness”.
The leaks, unsurprisingly, are not good for the NFL.
However, they are even worse for President Trump. If correct, the testimony given by Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, shows that Donald Trump was threatening and pressuring the NFL and its teams to get them to change their business practices – in this case, the rules related to the playing of the National Anthem. This is a specific violation of the law, as explained here:
Jerry Jones just testified under oath that the President of the United States violated 18 US Code 227 and specifically told him what policy he wanted and said it was important because it was good for him politically.
Jones openly admits Trump is using the NFL for political gain pic.twitter.com/hj8SN9EawI
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) May 30, 2018
The NFL may be moving towards a point where they have to start seriously considering how to settle the collusion complaints. If the complaints move to a full hearing, even if collusion cannot be proved, the PR damage to the NFL will be immense, especially if (as is likely) all of the testimony is revealed. Worse still, the NFLPA, already under fire internally for not fully supporting the players over the anthem protests, may find itself forced by its members to announce how it will protest the new anthem policy (probably by keeping players in the locker room during the playing of the anthem). There is rumored to be a lot of player anger over the new anthem policy and the blackballing of Kaepernick and Reid. The NFL has over 70% black players, so player anger is a real potential issue. Rival football leagues are also starting operations.