Kaepernick Won. The NFL Lost. It All Tracks Back to Trump

Loren Elliott / Reuters

"Had the league ignored Trump instead of cowering to his bullying, appeasing Trump wouldn’t have become a priority."

The Atlantic, February 17, 2019

"...The terms of the settlement, announced on Friday, were not disclosed. But it doesn’t matter how much money Kaepernick ultimately receives from the NFL; what matters is that he bested a league that has a long history of pummeling its opposition in court, especially players.

In a way, the NFL had no other choice. Last August, arbitrator Stephen Burbank rejected the NFL’s request to have the case dismissed. That meant he believed Kaepernick’s team had compiled enough receipts to present their case. With another hearing reportedly scheduled for next month, did the NFL really want to let Kaepernick’s legal team expose those receipts in court?

Of course not.

Owners and coaches had already given depositions in Kaepernick’s case, and the details that emerged from those proceedings did not look good for the NFL.

Read: They took a knee

For one, the depositions showed just how much league owners were petrified of President Donald Trump, who had loudly criticized the player protests. According to The Wall Street Journal, Jerry Jones, who owns the Dallas Cowboys, testified in a deposition that the president had told him in a phone conversation, “This is a very winning, strong issue for me,” and “Tell everybody you can’t win this one. This one lifts me.”

Trump felt that public sentiment was on his side when it came to the player protests, and was warning that he would not back off. That conversation with Jones, and separate ones with the Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and the New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft, suggested that the league was allowing their fear of Trump to influence how it dealt with Kaepernick and the other protesters.

Had Kaepernick’s case gone further, there was no question that more sensitive and damaging information would have come out. Who knows what was said about Kaepernick or other players in texts and emails. Even if Kaepernick had lost the case, the NFL would have been left with a significant mess. ...
Read full article at The Atlantic

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