Lawyer Mark Geragos, who has been hired to represent quarterback Colin Kaepernick, hasn’t said much publicly about the collusion grievance filed last Sunday on Kaepernick’s behalf against the NFL. In the latest episode of the Reasonable Doubt podcast (with his c0-host Adam Carolla), Geragos said plenty.
“What you need is the email from . . . Goodell to the owners, you need that smoking gun of the ‘don’t hire this guy,'” Carolla said in the episode that debuted Saturday.
“We have very good reason to believe that that exists,” Geragos replied.
Geragos went on to say that the smoking gun can come in the form of a piece of paper or an answer provided while testifying. Geragos also echoed a point made here recently regarding the potential value of digital evidence.
“The interesting thing will be when the discovery comes, and I expect the discovery to be very quickly,” Geragos said regarding the procedures for obtaining evidence before a formal hearing occurs. “You know, you can’t erase stuff anymore like you used to be able to; texts, emails, things of that nature.”
Geragos also explained that he opted to proceed with a grievance under the NFL’s labor deal because the rules allow things to unfold faster than they would in court.
“I want to move this as quickly as possible,” Geragos said, because Kaepernick “wants to play.”
Geragos also dropped a clear hint that the collusion grievance could go away quickly if Kaepernick gets a chance to play. Of course, the NFL has a reputation for stubbornness, especially in legal matters. If anything, the collusion grievance could cause the league to dig in even more.
Then again, if the NFL hires smart lawyers who quickly gather and properly understand the information that Geragos eventually will see from cell phones and email accounts, a strong recommendation could be made to find a way to get Kaepernick back to work.
“Sometimes I just want to tear what little hair I have on the head out when I see legal commentators say, ‘Oh, this is this uphill battle, it’s that uphill battle,'” Geragos said. “Guys, the conspiracy statute in federal court is much tougher than the collusion standard in the [NFL’s] CBA. . . . And every day federal prosecutors are able to prove conspiracy. So I do not think it’s as uphill as battle as people make it out to be, in fact I think it’s fairly obvious at this point that there has been collusion. But I don’t need to sit here and litigate it so much as let’s see what happens on Sunday in the quarterback situation and whether somebody signs him. I still have a pretty good feeling somebody’s gonna sign him.”
Most don’t have that feeling. Then again, most don’t have access to the proof of collusion that may be lurking in text exchanges and elsewhere on devices used by employees of the NFL and its teams.
The NFL has that access, and the NFL knows it doesn’t require a documented edict from 345 Park Avenue to prove collusion. Fretting among owners or other team employees about, for example, being called out by the President for signing Kaepernick may be sufficient to prove implied collusion, and the labor deal makes it clear that both express and implied collusion are prohibited.