Though he hasn’t played since becoming a free agent in March 2017, Colin Kaepernick may be awarded all of the money he lost. 

Kaepernick’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, announced on Twitter that, despite requests by the NFL, an arbitrator has refused to dismiss a complaint Kaepernick filed concerning his lack of a contract and, instead, will forward his claim to be heard by trial, reports Newsweek. 

Kaepernick’s complaint centers around his claim that NFL owners intentionally kept him from being offered a new contract because he routinely publicly protested police brutality during the national anthem before games, The New York Times reports.

“Politically, if you’re the arbitrator, in a case as big as this is, there’s no way to throw it out,” Charles Grantham, a former executive with the National Basketball Players Association, told The New York Times. “We knew that as soon as Donald Trump put his fingerprints on the issue.”

Kaepernick became a symbol of racial justice and advocacy during his play for the 49ers, as his kneeling not only brought more attention to the systemic and disproportionate murder of black and brown people but also to the NFL. With more eyes on the games and controversial debates sparked by whether Kaepernick was disrespecting the American flag and U.S. soldiers by kneeling during the anthem, critical figures like Donald Trump began to speak against his actions and denounce the NFL for allowing it to continue, placing further pressure on owners. 

“First time kneeling, out for the game,” Trump tweeted in response to the controversy. “Second time kneeling, out for season/no play!”

If he wins the case, Kaepernick would be liable to receive all the money he would have been making had he continued to play for a team. However, according to CBS News, Kaepernick’s case relies on the ability to prove that owners worked together to ensure he would remain unsigned instead of deciding individually.

The arbitrator moving forward with a trial, though, is an indication there is sufficient evidence for Kaepernick to make a case in his favor.  

“Colin Kaepernick’s goal has always been, and remains, to simply be treated fairly by the league he performed at the highest level for and to return to the football playing field,” Geragos said, according to CBS News. 

The trial date has yet to be announced. Meanwhile, Eric Reid, who began protesting with Kaepernick near the beginning, also has not been signed to a team and filed a grievance that is waiting to be heard.


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