The owners of the Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, and Houston Texans football teams will reportedly be "deposed and asked to turn over all cell phone records and emails in relation to [former San Francisco 49ers quarterback] Colin [Kaepernick's] collusion case against the NFL," ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Friday, based on a conversation with a league official.
Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers in March and has remained a free agent ever since. He claimed in a grievance filed in October that NFL owners were colluding to keep him from being signed as punishment for his high-profile protests in 2016, when he kneeled during the playing of the national anthem before games to draw attention to racial inequality and police brutality.
All three deposed NFL owners have spoken about the protests. The Texans' Bob McNair said: "We can't have the inmates running the prison." The Cowboys' Jerry Jones claimed: "We have a fan base that unquestionably, without even blinking, wants and expects us to stand for the anthem." The Patriots' Robert Kraft has been more lenient: "The greatest enemy in sport is division from within," he has said. "I personally feel it's very important to respect our flag and our anthem. But I also respect the right of people in this country to make statements or protests, peacefully, in a way that's appropriate to them."
While collusion has not yet been proven, President Trump has supported owners freezing out players who "disrespect" the flag. "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a b—h off the field right now, out, he's fired,'" Trump asked at a September rally.