As NFL owners prepared to meet on Oct. 17 to discuss recent league issues, a groundbreaking update on free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick may very easily have skyrocketed the meeting’s already paramount importance.
Speculation of Kaepernick being on a NFL blacklist has been discussed inside NFL circles, but came to the forefront when Kaepernick filed a grievance against the league for collusion in the form of keeping him from playing in the NFL, according to Yahoo Sports.
Collusion, in its most basic form, is illicit, secretive cooperation between people or organizations in order to cheat someone.
Kaepernick and his legal team are trying to prove that NFL owners conspired to prevent him from playing in the league. In order to successfully prove collusion, Kaepernick must provide evidence of his allegations for at least two separate instances, or in this case, two different teams or one team and the league.
The major reason which Kaepernick will argue has kept teams from signing him is his involvement in protesting the national anthem, which was one of the major topics discussed in the aforementioned league meeting.
It would appear as though Kaepernick had been planning an appropriate time to file his grievance for it to have a meaningful impact on the league and its fans, and the free agent has certainly found that right time.
While the repercussions of this might be the end to his NFL career, Kaepernick is more focused on the impact that his bold decision will have on the movement that he is leading.
With various other sports leagues and owners cracking down on National Anthem protests and other forms of player protest during games, the stage for players to raise awareness of social injustice inside their respective arenas may be dying out.
The NFL owners’ meeting this past week produced a verdict that player’s ability to protest will still exist moving forward, but with the undertone that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and owners advocate for standing during the national anthem, and that the hope for them is to take the number of protestors down to zero.
Mixed messages certainly, and alongside the coverage of the meetings has been the media buzz of Kaepernick’s grievance, the result of which will have an innumerable influence on the future of players ability to use sports as a platform to encourage discussion on social issues.
In the wake of his dying NFL career, Kaepernick is preserving his ability to advocate for the causes he believes in.
His fight to preserve the ability of himself and of other athletes will be a difficult one due to the difficulty of proving collusion.
Whether Kaepernick wins or not, he has solidified himself as one of the strongest advocates for human rights and will undoubtedly continue to find ways to spark discussion and raise awareness among all people. And if he manages to win his case in court and prove collusion, he will have taken his status as a trailblazer to another level.
But as far as his playing future goes, Kaepernick can put his cleats and pads away when he confronts the arbitrator to take on the NFL.
It will be a sacrifice for Kaepernick, but one that will not seem to stop him from fighting for what he believes in.
Kyle Kasharian is a business major from Green, N.J. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ItsKyleKash.