Colin Kaepernick is expected to seek subpoenas to compel President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and others to testify in his ongoing collusion grievance against the NFL.
Yahoo Sports columnist Charles Robinson reported the news Thursday, citing unnamed sources familiar with Kaepernick’s grievance.
Given Trump’s repeated attacks on NFL players who kneel during the national anthem, and, per Robinson, “recent disclosures that multiple owners had direct talks with Trump about players kneeling during the national anthem,” Kaepernick will seek Trump’s testimony on his administration’s political involvement in NFL organizations’ hiring decisions and reactions to player activism.
Trump loudly pressured the NFL to punish players who knelt during the anthem, a protest Kaepernick started at the beginning of the 2016 season. After the NFL created a new rule this year requiring players on the field to stand during the anthem, franchise leaders admitted that Trump’s name had come up in discussions of the rule.
“It was more how [Trump] might react, anticipating that,” Green Bay Packers President Mark Murphy told Sports Illustrated. “Also, how the fans will react, how the media will react. That’s what we tried to think through. … No matter what we did, [Trump] would probably try to get involved one way or the other—either criticizing us or taking credit for the change.”
Yahoo Sports noted that before issuing subpoenas, Kaepernick’s legal team would first have to convince the NFL’s system arbitrator, Stephen Burbank, that Trump and others are relevant to the case despite them not being covered by the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement.