Kaepernick’s Attorney Fires Back at NFL in Ongoing War of Words
Dispute over one-on-one meeting with Commissioner Goodell highlights bigger rift with players.
The relationship between the NFL and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick continues to unravel. On Tuesday, Kaepernick’s attorney denied a league claim that his client failed to respond to a request by the NFL to have a one-on-one meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell.
“We responded immediately [to the Oct. 31 invite] that Colin would be happy to attend,” Geragos said of the personal meeting invitation with Goodell. “Because of the grievance, we asked that a mediator be present. A mediator would ensure that the discussions were productive and confidential and not used as a public relations stunt or prop by the league. Colin’s proposal was rejected.”
The invite, which came from NFL vice president of operations Troy Vincent, was extended in hopes of furthering dialogue between the two sides since no team has signed the former 49ers quarterback after he parted ways with the organization at the end of the 2016 season.
“Troy reached out to Colin directly—not to his lawyer—and said, ‘If you want to come in, come in,’” NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said. “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.”
Kaepernick has filed a greivance against the NFL for alleged collusion against him. The QB has been unable to find work since he left the 49ers, potentially because of his decision last year to kneel in protest of police violence during the national anthem, a gesture that has swept across the league this season.
This highlights an even larger issue confronting the league right now. The NFL Players’ Association simply doesn’t trust Goodell or the NFL, and it’s evident by its request for a mediator to attend meetings about social issues. The rift between the two doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon, either.
“Whether any progress is being made in the middle of this argument is up for debate,” writes Yahoo Sports‘ Charles Robinson. “But one thing isn’t: the last collective meeting between the two sides was nearly three weeks ago. Players are still kneeling during the national anthem and the NFL is still doing damage control with advertisers, fans and sponsors. All the while, progress seems to be getting distant in the rear-view mirror.”