Ar­bi­tra­tor sends Kaeper­nick’s griev­ance against NFL to trial

Manteca Bulletin - - Sports -

PHILADEL­PHIA (AP) — Colin Kaeper­nick and his le­gal team are driv­ing in­side NFL ter­ri­tory, forc­ing the league and its 32 teams to brace for a de­fen­sive stand.

An ar­bi­tra­tor is send­ing Kaeper­nick’s griev­ance with the NFL to trial, deny­ing the league’s re­quest to throw out the quar­ter­back’s claims that own­ers con­spired to keep him out of the league be­cause of his protests of so­cial in­jus­tice.

Kaeper­nick’s lawyer Mark Ger­a­gos tweeted a pic­ture Thurs­day of a rul­ing by ar­bi­tra­tor Stephen B. Bur­bank. The NFL de­clined a re­quest for com­ment.

Kaeper­nick, who led the San Fran­cisco 49ers to a Su­per Bowl ap­pear­ance and NFC cham­pi­onship game in con­sec­u­tive sea­sons, ar­gues that own­ers have col­luded to keep him off any NFL ros­ter since he hit free agency in 2017.

Bur­bank’s de­ci­sion means there was suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence of col­lu­sion to keep Kaeper­nick’s drive go­ing.

Now some own­ers, coaches and team ex­ec­u­tives will be called to tes­tify dur­ing the sea­son, a sit­u­a­tion the league hoped to avoid.

Kaeper­nick be­gan a wave of protests by NFL play­ers two sea­sons ago, kneel­ing dur­ing the na­tional an­them to protest po­lice bru­tal­ity and racial in­equal­ity. The protests have grown into one of the most po­lar­iz­ing is­sues in sports, with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump loudly urg­ing the league to sus­pend or fire play­ers who demon­strate dur­ing the an­them.

Kaeper­nick con­tends the own­ers vi­o­lated their col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment with play­ers by con­spir­ing to keep him off teams.

The case hinges on whether own­ers worked to­gether rather than de­cided in­di­vid­u­ally to not sign Kaeper­nick.


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