Repeat after me: The NFL should not be able to deny a qualified player from working because of his political views while taking public money to subsidize their business profits.
Yesterday, we found out that contrary to NFL spin, Colin Kaepernick was indeed considered a starting quarterback to potential employers.
Here’s a reminder that this is all about NFL greed:
The New York Times recently reported on an audio recording they received of an October 2017 meeting between NFL owners and players in which player representatives said they believed Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback who started the “take a knee” protests, was being blackballed by the league’s owners.
There is some compelling evidence to support that theory.
This raises several issues. First of all, the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of political viewpoint. NFL rules (which are guidelines) also require players to stand at attention during the national anthem. They claim the right to do so as private-sector employers.
However, several states (including some with NFL teams) have laws against blacklisting former employees. Colin Kaepernick is uniquely affected by blacklisting — because there is only one National Football League in the United States.
Another issue is that the owners made clear in the Times report that they were not eager to attract further criticism from Donald Trump. But that brings us to 18 U.S. Code § 227, which states that no employee of the legislative or executive branch can wrongfully influence employment decisions.
Kaepernick is currently involved in a civil suit accusing the NFL of collusion, but this is also a serious public matter that chills freedom of speech. President Trump has no legal right to prevent Kaepernick from making a living in his specialized area. The NFL shouldn’t get to have it both ways by clamping down on political views as private employers — while also taking public funds for stadiums.
I’m asking readers to sign this petition if you agree that the Attorneys General in the states that host an NFL franchise should investigate this case and protect players from viewpoint discrimination.
You could also contact your Attorney General or State’s Attorney directly in the following states where NFL teams are located: AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, IN, LA, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, NJ, NY, NC, OH, PA, TN, TX, WA, and WI.