NFL rejects player request for mediation, reiterates Kaepernick invitation

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Certain aspects of the effort to cure a lingering intersection of politics and football has become bogged down by a political football.

As a coalition of players hopes to meet with the league and selected owners in an effort to solve the anthem controversy once and for all, the NFL has declined to conduct the meeting with the involvement of a mediator.

“We don’t believe that there’s a need for a third-party mediator,” league spokesman Joe Lockhart said during a Tuesday morning media briefing. During that same conference call, however, Lockhart reiterated that quarterback Colin Kaepernick is invited to attend and participate in the next meeting aimed at discussing (and, presumably, resolving) the issue.

Kaepernick’s attorney in his collusion grievance, Mark Geragos, thereafter said that he responded immediately to the league that Kaepernick would be happy to attend. Geragos, however, prefers that a mediator be involved.

“Because of the grievance we asked that a mediator be present,” Geragos told ABC News, via ESPN.com. “A mediator also would ensure that the discussions were productive and confidential and not used as a PR stunt or prop by the league. Colin’s proposal was rejected.”

The league responded, with Lockhart saying this to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports: “[Executive V.P. of football operations] Troy [Vincent] reached out to Colin directly — not to his lawyer — and said, ‘If you want to come in, come in.’ This isn’t about his lawyer. This isn’t about a mediator. The question of, ‘Has [Colin] been invited in?’ the answer is yes. This isn’t part of any grievance process. This is part of the overall discussion we’ve been having on some of these social issues.”

Because a grievance is pending between Kaepernick and the NFL, and because the players have made it clear that one of the issues they hope to discuss is Kaepernick’s ongoing unemployment, the grievance can’t simply be ignored. Anything Kaepernick or the league says during any meeting can, in theory, be used in the collusion case. It would make sense to have these communications occur in a process that has the layer of formality that the presence of a mediator would provide.

On a separate note, it’s also unwise for Kaepernick and Vincent (or any other league officials) to be communicating directly, given the pending grievance. Apart from the fact that ethical rules become implicated if the lawyers for either side know about and/or direct communications between parties to a pending proceeding, anything Kaepernick says to Vincent or Vincent says to Kaepernick can be used later (especially if either guy is recording the conversations, like Adrian Peterson did to Vincent three years ago).

The league may be reluctant to involve a mediator because the presence of a mediator represents a mutual interest to fully and finally settle the issue. The league possibly hopes that an ongoing willingness to talk about the issue, plus periodic efforts to actually do so, will result in the controversy remaining on the back burner, indefinitely.

A permanent solution to the issue would mean compromise, with the league actually giving the players something in order to persuade them to stand for the anthem. The league’s current approach could lead to the vast majority of the players choosing to continue to stand without the league making any concessions at all, and that seems to be what the league prefers — especially since the Commander-in-Chief seems to have moved on to more pressing matters, of both foreign and domestic origin.

30 responses to “NFL rejects player request for mediation, reiterates Kaepernick invitation

  1. Why would the NFL want to add a layer of formality to this sideshow? Kaepernick quit. He hasn’t been damaged.

  2. Absurd that the players want a 3rd party mediator. These younger players have never owned a business or had employees. They are naive and clueless.

  3. I am looking forward to seeing the photos of empty stadiums that the players must play to this weekend due to Colin Kaepernick starting what could become the end of the NFL.
    Disrespect of our country and flag is inexcusable and I am disgusted by these overpaid athletes behavior.
    This 49ers fan has been boycotting the games this entire season. I am NOT alone.

    BOYCOTT the NFL! Because they still just don’t get it!

  4. There is nothing to mediate.

    All the NFL has to do to end this abomination is to tell the players that their opportunity to insult the American public is over.

    Effective immediately, standing at attention, holding your helmet in your left hand with your right hand over your heart is mandatory.

    Failure to comply will result in:

    First offense – a $100,000 fine – payable to the charity of your choice.

    Second offense – 1 game suspension and loss of game check.

    Third offernse – 4 game suspension and loss of game checks.

    Forth offense – Suspended the balance of the season plus the next full season. Must apply for reinstatement.

    This would all be over in one week with millions of dollars donated to charity (the first week would be a mass protest).

    Because these players aren’t serious enough about this to actually get suspended for even 1 game.

  5. Something very interesting in this Kaepernick saga has been exposed. Every owner is not going all out to win. They ask the players to give it their best effort. Risk head injuries. Permanent brain damage. Blow out knees, etc. But we’ve seen so many mediocre QBs playing who don’t really give their teams a chance to win. Meanwhile Kaepernick led a team to the super bowl the first year he stepped onto the field, and then led them back to the championship game his second year. I don’t see how an owner can ever accuse a player of not giving 100% effort when they’re clearly not giving theirs. To me, this is the biggest issue, and they’re not even trying to hide it. I couldn’t care less if Kaepernick ever plays another down in the NFL, but at least I know where the owners stand. Maybe the fans don’t care either.

  6. if the players are all broken up about Kaepernick and think he has been black balled then they can easily pay him a salary out of the players union fund….

  7. We can always move half the college football games to Sundays….. The NFL has to get it’s head out of politics and back onto getting its product back up to 100%. It’s entertainment not a political platform….treat it as much.

  8. What is the outcome that these players want? There is certainly no measureable to show whether progress is being made. The first time someone accuses a cop of driving while black the whole thing will come crashing down again. So enough with the “I’m taking a knee for all of you cuz I’m so heroic”.

  9. Charliecharger

    In the NFL 2 things can win you. Superbowl. A hall of fame qb(Manning’s colts, Rodgers Packers) and stout tough defenses(’85 bears, 2000 Ravens, 2003 bucs). Do you really believe for one minute that the 49s were lead by Kaepernick or Hy the defense? Remember a year before kaepernick went to the Superbowl the 49ers were in the exact same position with Alex Smith. It could be argued any qb could have road that defense to at least the championship game.

  10. Damage done.

    It won’t matter anymore, if\when these idiots decide to stand for the anthem. They’ve already made it known that THEIR cause is more important than respecting our flag, and that’s something that will never go away.

    Congrats, guys!

  11. So it sounds like the NFL is willing to discuss social issues and what they can do to help. They are even willing to hear Kaepernicks input on that too. Isnt that good?

    And they are not willing to cloud that discussion by rolling Kaepernicks grevience and employment demands into the conversation. Isn’t that good too?

    Looking into how they can help with social issues is an entirely seperate topic from resolving a grevience from somone who feels he is entitled to be given something other players are all required to earn. (And to be given that something would first need to be taken away from someone else that had earned it) So I think the NFL is taking as fair a position as they can here.

  12. Employers should never have to negotiate with employees especially when there is a valid CBA in place. For once, I’m happy with the owners on this stance.

  13. There is nothing to discuss. Protest whatever you want on your own time, not at work. What if a group of players want to protest abortions, high taxes, or pollution… do they all get their work “platform” to do so? Is that the standard of the NFL now.

    The problem is that it’s too late. The players are viewed as being disrespectul to the milaitary and their sacrafice when they choose to sit for the national anthem. Their true colors have been shown. Forcing them to stand wont do anything. The damage has been done.

    I can honestly say I’ve watched probably 50% less football this year and I don’t really miss it. I will soon treat it like baseball or basketball where I’ll only tune in during some good playoff games. Other than that… meh.

  14. Good thing this was not about the players wanting to meditate like I thought when I read the headline.

  15. charliecharger says:
    November 8, 2017 at 7:52 am
    Something very interesting in this Kaepernick saga has been exposed. Every owner is not going all out to win.

    ————+
    Maybe, maybe not. But whatever they might be doing adding a poor quality player that brings negative value would certainly not help.

    The argument of collusion is not based on teams looking to win. Its based on choices made by teams in total desperation bottom of the barrel situations where there is nothing more to lose anyhow.

  16. charliecharger says:

    Meanwhile Kaepernick led a team to the super bowl the first year he stepped onto the field, and then led them back to the championship game his second year.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    That was a long time ago. The NFL ended up learning how to expose Kaepernick’s weaknesses.

    The Kaepernick you remember from 2012 won just one game in 2016.

  17. Joe Lockart was part of an administration who’s motto was “Never Let a Crisis Go To Waste” That’s why Joe and Troy Vincent are dragging this thing out. Using Kap as a pawn in the Social Justice Wars. Joe could give two a rats ass about the NFL as long as he can get political mileage from Kap.

  18. People should really know the law. Especially if they are going to try and hide behind it. The First Amendment restricts only the government from abridging “the freedom of speech.” Private employers can do as they please. Thus, kneeling during the National Anthem can never be legally prohibited by the government, but can always be prohibited by private employers.

  19. No concessions and no compromise. Play the anthem with the teams in the locker room. Any fist raising after that is an automatic ejection.

  20. he quit, he refused a job in the cfl, he wants to start, no back up. he is a communist who hates America and what it stands for. his girlfriend is worse than he is. gee i just can’t think of any more reasons to hire him.

  21. charliecharger says:

    Meanwhile Kaepernick led a team to the super bowl the first year he stepped onto the field, and then led them back to the championship game his second year.

    —————
    Why do you continue with this falsehood? Alex Smith was the starting QB that season and won more games than Kaep. Sure Kaep came in and won some games, but Smith was more instrumental to getting SF to the SB than was Kaep. In fat, if SF would have started Smith, they probably would have actually won the SB.

  22. charliecharger says:

    Meanwhile Kaepernick led a team to the super bowl the first year he stepped onto the field, and then led them back to the championship game his second year.
    ======================================================

    So why was he benched and why were they going to cut him if he didn’t take a pay decrease?

  23. mrpbnh says:
    November 8, 2017 at 9:03 am
    People should really know the law. Especially if they are going to try and hide behind it. The First Amendment restricts only the government from abridging “the freedom of speech.” Private employers can do as they please. Thus, kneeling during the National Anthem can never be legally prohibited by the government, but can always be prohibited by private employers.
    ——————————–

    Yes they can but the league chose not to which gives the players the right until the owners change their position.

  24. I love how all you snowflakes get butthurt over something that doesnt affect you in anyway. “but but they’re disrespecting our flag.” no, they’re not. you are. you trying to tell someone else what to do. they have every right to do what they are doing, and you have none to tell them what to do. i was in the military so dont give me that non-sense about disrespecting the military either. last time i checked i vowed to support and defend their right to do exactly as they are.

    ah, the old argument of not doing it at their place of work. why? because you cant? tough. get over it. so you arent in the NFL, and? these owners are not just going to tell their players to walk. too valuable. hell, look at Zeke and Jerrah. “but but, the stands and boycotting” yeah yeah, and here you are reading a NFL blog. these guys are making money hands over fists and it isnt going to stop any time soon. hell, i know more people that have tuned in to see who is going to stand, sit, or kneel (which by the way, reminds me of a way of showing respect, not that i think that is what they are doing) that do not even watch the game.

  25. “A permanent solution to the issue would mean compromise, with the league actually giving the players something in order to persuade them to stand for the anthem.”

    So the NFL has to GIVE the players something so they do not insult we the the American people, veterans and those in uniform, our democracy, etc. and stand. I guess the players will get even more to not wear “Cops are Pigs” socks, Che Guevara (he was a socialist mass murder) t-shirts while representing the NFL, other anti-democracy gear, etc. Pitiful.

  26. Grievance for what? The NFL should take control of the situation and tell the players to stand and respect the flag. This stunt has gone long enough. If the players want to whine about anything outside of their jobs, they can do it on their time not as employees.

  27. Most of society is bored with this. Kaep wants to play on his terms, the players want to kneel for theater, the NFL continues to lose ratings. Blah, blah, blah.

    Better luck next year guys.

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