Attorneys for quarterback Colin Kaepernick have notified the NFL that they are requesting that several owners of teams, including the Dallas Cowboys' Jerry Jones and the Houston Texans' Robert McNair, participate in depositions as part of Kaepernick's grievance accusing owners and teams of colluding to keep him out of the league, a person familiar with the case said Friday.
The request also seeks access to electronic communications, including emails and text messages, involving several teams that were linked to Kaepernick, according to that person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because Kaepernick's grievance remains pending.
The NFL declined to comment. The teams involved either declined to comment or did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Kaepernick has remained unsigned since opting out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers following last season. He began the movement of players protesting during the national anthem while with the 49ers last season. He is being represented in his collusion grievance by Los Angeles-based attorney Mark Geragos, with support being offered by the NFL Players Association.
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Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the NFLPA, Kaepernick must prove that teams conspired with each other or with the league. The fact that he remains unsigned, in comparison to players who have been signed and are on rosters, does not by itself prove collusion, under the CBA.
Jones has said he would bench any Cowboys player who protests during the anthem. McNair created a controversy when he reportedly said during a recent owners' meeting that the NFL "can't have the inmates running the prison."
The request by Kaepernick's legal team was previously reported by other media outlets, including CBS and ESPN. Those reports also mentioned Jed York of the 49ers, Paul Allen of the Seattle Seahawks and Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots among the owners who could be deposed, and the Seahawks, Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens among the teams from which electronic communications are being sought.