Billionaires typically don’t like to be subjected to any authority other than their own. In the Colin Kaepernick collusion grievance, multiple billionaires and other assorted Alpha males will be forced to answer questions under oath, and they surely aren’t happy about that.
The list of owners expected to be questioned in the case, based on cumulative reporting of ABC News, Yahoo Sports, ESPN, and PFT includes Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Texans owner Bob McNair, Colts owner Jim Irsay, Seahawks owner Paul Allen, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, 49ers CEO Jed York, and Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch.
The standard for getting a ticket to the party seems to be whether the owner has said anything publicly about Kaepernick or the anthem protests. For that reason, it’s safe to assume that Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti is either on the list or will be, since he was the first person connected to the league to admit to considering non-football reasons when considering whether to sign Kaepernick.
PFT recently reported that the list of digital search terms has expanded, resulting in a broader range of text messages and emails being harvested. This could lead to more depositions, based on where that evidence goes.
The authority to question owners and other key figures isn’t unlimited. Article 15, Section 3 of the labor deal requires the System Arbitrator to “grant reasonable and expedited discovery upon the application of any party where, and to the extent, he determines it is reasonable to do so.” The NFL will surely resist some of these requests; ultimately, if Kaepernick’s legal team can show that a given request is reasonable, the discovery must be permitted.
For a case like this, it’s entirely possibly that the universe of reasonable witnesses will expand, not contract. And given the propensity of some of these potential deponents (such as Jones and Irsay) to believe that they can talk their way out of any jam, the reality is that the more they say, the worse it could be. Eventually, while believing that they are helping the cause, they’ll end up hurting it — possibly without realizing it.
It’s all the more reason for the league office to take a broader look at this case, to project the potential worst-case scenario, to review the evidence and to pre-question the witnesses to determine the chances of the worst-case scenario happening, and to find a way out of this mess before a slew of owners who support the current configuration of the league office have gone through a grilling by Mark Geragos — and who emerge with pointed questions about how this clusterfudge could have been avoided.