BY BILL KNIGHT
As Community Word published in the September issue distributed Aug. 29, former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s case is a labor issue, and an arbitrator appointed by the NFL and the NFL Players Association agreed the next day.
The ruling by Stephen Burbank said that Kaepernick’s lawyers showed enough evidence that the league and its owners colluded to keep the free-agent quarterback off the field, and that the case can continue to a full hearing. The decision – permitting lawyers to question league officials, owners and others in the trial-like format – hit the NFL like an official’s penalty flag.
Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL in October 2017, accusing owners of conspiring to deny him a job because of his decision two years ago to kneel during the national anthem to protest racism and police brutality.
“You have people who came back after being associated with drugs, rape charges and so forth … but a man who violated no league rules, who committed no crime, who has statistics that Colin Kaepernick has cannot play in the league,” said Kaepernick adviser Harry Edwards. “That is not Kaepernick’s problem; that is the league’s problem.”
Indeed, Burbank ruled there was sufficient proof that the NFL “violates Article 17, Section 1 of the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA (union).”
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has said he admired Kaepernick for protesting during the national anthem, and that the 30-year-old QB who played six years with the 49ers and led them to the Super Bowl in his second season deserves a spot on an NFL roster.
BY BILL KNIGHT