The first snippets of testimony have emerged from the depositions taken in the Colin Kaepernick collusion grievance. And it’s becoming even more obvious that the NFL changed its anthem policy at the direct behest of the President.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, while testifying in the Kaepernick collusion grievance, shared the details of a phone call with the President.
“This is a very winning, strong issue for me,” the President told Jones, according to Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal. “Tell everybody, you can’t win this one. This one lifts me.”
The President was right. There was no way to win. Even by giving in.
Per Beaton, the NFL declined comment on the matter, citing the confidentiality that applies to the grievance proceedings. A White House official did not dispute the testimony.
“The majority of the American people agree with the president, love our country, love our flag and believe it should be respected,” the White House official told Beaton. (This ignores the results of the NFL’s secret poll from last year, which showed that people both opposed and supported the protests that have been happening during the anthem. The NFL has chosen, however, to heed only the opinions of those who oppose the protests, possibly because that side reflects the President’s stated viewpoint.)
Beaton also reports that Jones, along with Texans owner Bob McNair and Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, testified that they believed the protests were hurting the NFL financially. Which of course conflicts with recent statements from Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who justified the new contract given to Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan by claiming that league and club revenues are up.
Regardless of whether it’s rooted in fact, owners have chosen to believe that the protests are bad for business, in large part because the President had chosen to continue to stir up his base by chastising the NFL for allowing the protests. Which not only suggests that collusion arising from a mutual desire to placate the President may be influencing the ongoing unemployment of Kaepernick and Eric Reid, but also potentially bolsters the opinion of attorney Mark Geragos that the President may have run afoul of federal law by interfering with private employment decisions for political reasons.