Free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick is partly blaming President Donald Trump for none of the NFL’s 32 teams offering him a job, say new reports.
According to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, a “source with knowledge of the situation” says Kaepernick’s collusion suit intends to argue that Trump has influenced NFL team owners, via Twitter, speeches and private communications, against signing Kaepernick.
Trump has certainly been outspoken about NFL protests. During a rally in Alabama several weeks ago, he said owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem in protest of racial injustice, adding that any player who kneels is a “son of a b***h.” That’s far from the only time Trump has voiced his displeasure with protesting players.
The president admitted to sending Vice President Mike Pence to a San Francisco 49ers-Indianapolis Colts game and instructing him to walk out of the stadium if players knelt. Several 49ers players did, and Pence left the game, tweeting later that he and Trump would not take part in any event that disrespects the flag.
At a March rally in Kentucky, Trump told the crowd: “There was an article today, it was reported, that NFL owners don’t want to pick [Kaepernick] up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. I said, ‘If I remember that one, I’m gonna report it to the people of Kentucky — because they like it when people actually stand for the American flag.'”
Furthermore,Trump has had direct contact with NFL owners. He met New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft aboard Air Force One, and he tweeted that he spoke to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, applauding him for stating Cowboys players will stand for the anthem or be benched.
According to La Canfora, Kaepernick’s breaking point was when the Tennessee Titans passed on him and instead signed Brandon Weeden, and the Oakland Raiders also declined to sign him.
“Kaepernick’s lawyers might argue Trump acted as an implied agent in this instance, as neither team was responsive to Kaepernick’s agent making clear Kaepernick’s desire and eagerness to work out for any clubs,” according to La Canfora.
Whether a court will agree that owners were influenced by Trump’s rhetoric remains to be seen.