Category Archives: Sports

Colin Kaepernick files grievance accusing NFL teams of colluding against him

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who remains unemployed after a 2016 season in which he began the movement of players protesting during the national anthem, has filed a grievance accusing NFL teams of colluding to keep him out of the league, his legal representatives said.

Kaepernick retained Los Angeles-based attorney Mark J. Geragos to pursue the collusion claim and, according to a person with knowledge of the filing, it will be Kaepernick’s outside legal representation and not the NFL Players Association primarily in charge of preparing and presenting his case.

Geragos’s firm confirmed the grievance, saying it filed “only after pursuing every possible avenue with all NFL teams and their executives.”

In a statement, the law firm’ also said: “If the NFL . . . is to remain a meritocracy, then principled and peaceful political protest — which the owners themselves made great theater imitating weeks ago — should not be punished and athletes should not be denied employment based on partisan political provocation by the Executive Branch of our government. . . . Protecting all athletes from such collusive conduct is what compelled Mr. Kaepernick to file his grievance.”

 

The collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players’ union prohibits teams from conspiring to make decisions about signing a player. But the CBA also says the mere fact that a player is unsigned and evidence about the player’s qualifications to be on an NFL roster do not constitute proof of collusion.

For that reason, such cases are difficult to prove, according to legal experts.

“There has to be some evidence of an agreement between multiple teams not to sign a player,” said Gabriel Feldman, the director of the sports law program at Tulane University. “Disagreement over personnel decisions, as obvious as it may seem to someone looking at this, does not provide evidence of collusion. There has to be some evidence of an explicit or implied agreement. There has to be proof of a conspiracy.”

Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers following last season, making him a free agent eligible to sign with any team. The 49ers have said they would have released Kaepernick rather than retaining him under the terms of that deal. He has remained out of work, being passed over by other teams in favor of other quarterbacks. The Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens considered signing Kaepernick but decided against doing so.

More recently, the Tennessee Titans signed Brandon Weeden to provide depth behind backup Matt Cassel when their starting quarterback, Marcus Mariota, was hurt. That signing seemed particularly inflammatory to Kaepernick supporters who cited Kaepernick’s superior career accomplishments. Kaepernick has led the 49ers to a Super Bowl and two NFC championship games and he threw 16 touchdown passes with four interceptions for them last season.

The NFLPA issued a written statement late Sunday saying it learned of Kaepernick’s grievance through media reports and that it had learned the league previously was informed of Kaepernick’s intention to file the grievance.

“Our union has a duty to assist Mr. Kaepernick as we do all players and we will support him,” the NFLPA’s written statement said, adding that it had been in regular contact with Kaepernick’s representatives over the past year about his options and planned to schedule a call for this week with his advisers.

Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem before games last season to protest, he said, racial inequality and police mistreatment of African Americans in the United States. Those protests were taken up by other players and the controversy over them has been amplified this season even with Kaepernick out of the league.

President Trump called on NFL owners to “fire” players who protested during the anthem, referring to such a player as a “son of a bitch.” Vice President Pence walked out of a game last week between the 49ers and Colts in Indianapolis, citing players’ protests. Trump indicated that he had orchestrated that plan.

Under pressure from the White House, NFL owners are scheduled to meet Tuesday and Wednesday in New York and might seek the NFLPA’s support of a measure for players to stand for the anthem, according to multiple people familiar with the sport’s inner workings, while also pledging league support for players’ community activism efforts.

Some media members have contended since the offseason that Kaepernick was being blackballed by NFL teams based on his political stance. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and owners were asked about that contention on a number of occasions and denied that teams were acting in concert on Kaepernick because of his protests.

“Each team makes individual decisions on how they can improve their team,” Goodell at conclusion of NFL owners’ meeting in May in Chicago. “If they see an opportunity to improve their team, they do it. They evaluate players. They evaluate systems and coaches. They all make those individual decisions to try and improve their team.”

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross told reporters in July, according to the Palm Beach Post: “I would sure hope not. I know a lot’s been written about it, but you know owners and coaches — they’ll do anything it takes to win. If they think he can help them win, I’m sure — I would hope they would sign him.”

The plan for Kaepernick to pursue a grievance under the CBA was first reported by Bleacher Report.

“It may seem obvious to Colin Kaepernick,” Feldman said in a phone interview Sunday. “It may seem obvious to someone on the outside looking at this. But collusion requires an agreement [between teams]. Individual team decisions are not challengeable under the anti-collusion provision. An arbitrator is not going to second-guess an individual team’s personnel decision.”

If such evidence of collusion by NFL teams against Kaepernick exists, it has yet to revealed.

“We don’t know,” Feldman said. “Obviously everybody is talking about the baseball collusion cases from the 1980s, where there was a smoking gun. There were notes. There was strong evidence. There may be evidence here of collusion. We just don’t know.”

The NFL declined to comment Sunday through a spokesman.

“No Club, its employees or agents shall enter into any agreement, express or implied, with the NFL or any other Club, its employees or agents to restrict or limit individual Club decision-making,” the CBA says, adding that applies to “whether to negotiate or not to negotiate with any player” and “whether to offer or not to offer a Player Contract to any player,” among other things.

The CBA also says: “The failure by a Club or Clubs to negotiate, to submit Offer Sheets, or to sign contracts with Restricted Free Agents or Transition Players, or to negotiate, make offers, or sign contracts for the playing services of such players or Unrestricted Free Agents, shall not, by itself or in combination only with evidence about the playing skills of the player(s) not receiving any such offer or contract, satisfy the burden of proof set forth … above.”

By Mark Maske/WashingtonPost

Posted by The NON-Conformist

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President Trump rips NFL for getting ‘tax breaks’ while disrespecting anthem, flag

Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country? Change tax law!

More from CBS Sports.com

Posted by Libergirl

WTF!

I was thinking a bit about Colin Kaepernick the much maligned quarterback for the San Fransisco 49ers who by the way will be starting this Sunday, but a name came up that I highly despise, that name sister Sarah Palin the idiot savant of nothingness. she had a message for Colin, the message reads.

America – let’s sack this ungrateful punk.
Kaepernick – yeah, you’re really “down with the oppressed” in this nation. Enjoying your $114 million contract, your previous adoring fans, sucking up a life of luxury… GOD AND COUNTRY GAVE YOU THIS OPPORTUNITY. You can’t acknowledge that? Then on behalf of every Vet I’m privileged to know: GET THE HELL OUT.

– Sarah Palin

Her message is first of all very insulting. If their is a god then he or she or it did a bad job with this Country. I would say he(Colin) was successful because of his skill and Country had nothing to do with it. Blacks had to fight to get a seat at the table and we’re still fighting for self determination. Since you have come up, you’ve gone into hibernation which is a good thing. But to tell a grown man to get the hell out is troublesome and insulting. Why don’t you take your ass back to Europe and try reading a book about the history of this Country specifically foreign policy.

As football fan I have a joke for you. What do you call a white man surrounded by ten black guys…a quarterback. Racism permeates the inner core of this Country. While Sister Sarah is making a point she falls in line with white privilege and white supremacy. The position of quarterback represents white privilege. The former racist President Theodore Roosevelt who is having a few issues these days and all fair. To know more about him read The Imperial Cruise by Jame Bradley. In 1906 Theodore Roosevelt said “the quarterback position represents the founding fathers of America, it represents the President of this Country a position a black man will never obtain. The quarterback position represents leadership, decision making and authority.”

Let’s continue supporting Kaepernick in his fight for justice. If people come to you about the military, don’t answer, he never mentioned it. But ask them to tell you the history of the national anthem and the war of 1812… the real history! Its funny, but do you tell the Jews to stand for the German national anthem if it was written by Joseph Goebbels? I leave you with a quote from my favorite writer.

“I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
James Baldwin

Written by The NON-Conformist

Raised-fist protesters Smith, Carlos support Kaepernick

Image: AP

Tommie Smith and John Carlos were proud to raise their gloved fists in a symbolic protest at the Olympics, and now they’re proud that Colin Kaepernick and other athletes are staging national anthem protests to raise awareness about racial inequality and police brutality.

The American sprinters who were sent home from the 1968 Mexico City Olympics for what they called a “human rights salute” say the San Francisco 49ers quarterback and others are right to use their platform in an attempt to affect social change 48 years later.

“Don’t hate the kid because he stood up for something to change,” said Smith, who won the gold medal and set a world record in the 200 meters in 1968. “He stood up for the right to exercise Amendment 1.”

More from the News & Observer
Posted by Libergirl

Defense Department Paid Sports Teams $53M of Taxpayer Dollars to Play Anthem, Stage Over-the-Top Military Tributes

At a time when professional athletes such as Colin Kaepernick are labeled as unpatriotic for refusing to stand during the national anthem at sporting events, it turns out that the very displays of patriotism and tributes to the armed forces on display at those games were paid for by the U.S. government. So when those teams tell the players to stand for the “Star-Spangled Banner,” it is because the fake patriotism is bought and sold like a commodity.

Stephen A. Smith brought attention to the practice on ESPN’s “First Take” recently, as players have come under fire for refusing to salute the flag. Smith noted that players were not required to stand until 2009, and before that time players did not stand for the anthem because they remained in the locker room until game time.

In November 2015, Republican U.S. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona released a report stating that “In all, the military services reported $53 million in spending on marketing and advertising contracts with sports teams between 2012 and 2015. More than $10 million of that total was paid to teams in the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL), and Major League Soccer (MLS).”

More from Atlanta Black Star

Shut up and play ball: Why America can’t handle black athletes who talk about race

Image: Raw Story

Sometime far in the future, Colin Kaepernick’s  decision to sit during the playing of the national anthem will be heralded as another example of a black athlete using his or her national platform to draw attention to the continued mistreatment of black people in the United States. Undoubtedly, former teammates, coaches, and journalists will step forward to present their memories — seen through lenses covered in vaseline so that the edges are softened and the ugly stuff excised — in which they will extol Kaepernick for his courage and for his willingness to do the right thing even though he had to know that his act would be deliberately misinterpreted by those whose kneejerk reaction to any critique of the United States is to invoke the bodies of American war dead.

It’s especially ironic that the military is used to somehow prove that Kaepernick is wrong for speaking up when African Americans serve their country in the military at a higher rate — 17.8% — than its proportion of the U.S. population — 13.3% — than do white people, whose proportion of the population is 77.1% but who are only represented in the military at a rate of 74.6%.

More from Raw Story

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Kobe Bryant Launches $100M Venture Capital Fund – How Will Black Entrepreneurs Factor In?

Jeff Stibel and Kobe Bryant launch new venture fund capital Bryant Stibel (NYSE Twitter)
Image: NYSE Twitter

Kobe Bryant unveiled his post-retirement game plan today with a new self-funded venture capital firm. Jeff Stibel — formerly of Web.com — co-manages Bryant Stibel with the ex-baller. It marks the duo’s first official investment teaming.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the $100 million fund will invest in the tech, media and data areas.

Since 2013, Bryant and Stibel have informally funded 15 companies.

Now with Bryant Stibel, the group is currently invested in 13 companies, such as The Players Tribune and LegalZoom. The Los Angeles, California-based firm is not looking for outside investments.

More from Atlanta Black Star

Posted by The NON-Conformist