Colin Kaepernick Files Collusion Grievance Against NFL Owners

Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman learned that Colin Kaepernick has filed a grievance under the NFL's collective bargaining agreement for collusion against league owners. Kaepernick alleges that league owners are working together to prevent him from getting back into the NFL. 

“If the NFL (as well as all professional sports leagues) is to remain a meritocracy, then principled and peaceful political protestwhich the owners themselves made great theater imitating weeks agoshould not be punished and athletes should not be denied employment based on partisan political provocation by the Executive Branch of our government,” Kaepernick said in a statement through his lawyer Mark Geragos. 

While Kaepernick's agent has made his availability clear to all 32 teams, the Tennessee Titans never entertained the idea of signing Kap after Marcus Mariota went down with a hamstring injury. Instead, the Titans picked up Brandon Weeden off the scrap heap to back up Matt Cassel. In the 34 games he played in his career, Weeden has thrown 31 touchdowns and 30 interceptions.

Kaepernick's actions could lead to an early termination of the league's collective bargaining agreement, more than three years before the contract was set to expire. The move could lead to players and owners going back to the drawing board and working out a new CBA that would benefit both parties.

Send all complaints, compliments, and tips to sportstips@complex.com.

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Odell Beckham Will Reportedly Need Surgery Following Injury

 The New York Giants had a terrible game against the Los Angeles Chargers. Not only did they lose 27-22, the team's star player Odell Beckham had to be wheeled away in a cart after coming down awkwardly as he was attempting to catch a pass. It didn't look pretty. 

Reports are beginning to circulate that the injury to Beckham's left ankle requires surgery and that his fibula is broken. It was the same ankle Beckham previously injured during a preseason game against the Browns. Ouch. The Giants' luck seems to only have gotten worse as multiple other players, Brandon Marshall, Dwayne Harris and Sterling Shepard, were also injured earlier in the game. The Giants' loss to the Chargers brings their record to 0-5.  

In other NFL related news, Vice President Mike Pence stormed out of a Colts game in Indianapolis after 49ers players kneeled for the national anthem. 

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Dannon Swaps Cam Newton for Dak Prescott After Sexist Remarks

Carolina Panthers quarterback and 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton lost his Dannon endorsement deal after making sexist remarks to Charlotte Observer beat reporter Jourdan Rodrigue during a news conference last Wednesday, but it appears the company has quickly found a replacement.

One day after saying, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes like … it’s funny,” Dannon dropped Newton, who was the pitchman for their subsidiary Oikos.

“We are shocked and disheartened at the behavior and comments of Cam Newton towards Jourdan Rodrigue, which we perceive as sexist and disparaging to all women,” read a statement from Dannon released in the wake of Newton’s comments. “We have shared our concerns with Cam and will no longer work with him.”

So yeah, take a good look at the ad below, because Dannon will likely be replacing it and any accompanying ads very soon.

Newton released an official apology for his Neanderthal-like remarks Thursday, and some of Rodrigue’s previous racist tweets were brought to light also, although the latter received far less coverage. The Panthers QB also revealed he’d lost additional sponsorships besides Dannon.

The refrigerated dairy company moved quickly and reportedly signed Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott to replace Newton. The move should be familiar territory for Prescott, who already has endorsement deals with Adidas, Pepsi, Frito-Lay and Beats.

According to ESPN, no NFL player has more endorsement deals than Prescott, and a cursory glance at his Twitter feed backs up that statement. Sponsored tweets from Keurig, AT&T and other companies dominate Prescott’s timeline. The Dallas QB is reportedly shooting his first commercial this week with Dannon, as the company continues to distance itself from Newton by removing existing advertisements.

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Cam Newton Laughs at Reporter’s Question: ‘It’s Funny to Hear a Female Talk About Routes’

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has found himself in hot water after delivering a sexist remark in response to a female beat writer's question. On Wednesday, Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer asked Newton about his teammate, wide receiver Devin Funchess, embracing “the physicality of his routes” and wondered if seeing him play that way gave him “a little bit of enjoyment?” 

Look, I'm not an NFL quarterback and even I know his response should've been a simple “yes” followed by a couple lines praising Funchess' recent play. Instead, Newton responded, “It's funny to hear a female talk about routes.” Cam's response was met by silence from every single reporter, which led Newton to double down on his ignorant statement, adding, “It's funny.” 

Here's the thing, Cam: literally no one else found it funny. Women covering sports dragged him for his stupidity. 

Even Jourdan got in on the act. 

ESPN is reporting that, while the Panthers' director of communications is saying that Newton “expressed regret” for his statement, other sources are saying that Newton “did not apologize.” 

The Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM) issued a statement on the incident.

 

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New Orleans Saints Knelt Before, Then Stood During National Anthem in London

The National Football League’s co-opting of Colin Kaepernick’s 2016 protest about adverse conditions black citizens and other people of color face into a gesture about unity and solidarity came full circle Sunday, as the New Orleans Saints opted to kneel prior to the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The Saints collectively rose with locked arms once the singing of the national anthem began as they squared off in an exhibition game in London against the Miami Dolphins. 

Saints quarterback Drew Brees confirmed the gestures would take place days before as he made the announcement via Twitter September 29.

“As a way to show respect to all, our #Saints team will kneel in solidarity prior to the national anthem [and] stand together during the anthem,” Brees tweeted.

Three Miami Dolphins players—Kenny Stills, Michael Thomas and Julius Thomas—continued to kneel as the national anthem was sung in Wembley Stadium Sunday.

“I think it’s a good combination of showing unity and also paying tribute to the actual reason why everybody’s taking a knee,” Saints defensive back Kenny Vaccaro told ESPN. “It has nothing to do with disrespecting the flag, disrespecting the military.”

Don’t expect to see any additional live anthem coverage on Fox Sports, which has television rights to NFC Conference NFL games. The network announced last week’s practice of airing live footage during the anthem will end.

“As we have in previous broadcasts of NFL games from London, Fox will show the National Anthem as well as God Save the Queen live,” a statement from Fox read in part. “As is standard procedure, regionalized coverage of NFL game airing on FOX this Sunday will not show the National Anthem live; however, our cameras are always rolling and we will document the response of players and coaches on the field.”

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Memo Reminds NBA Players Must Stand During National Anthem, Outlines Ways Players Can Effect Change

NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum sent out a memo to all 30 teams Friday instructing players and coaches to stand during the national anthem. Although there was no mention of punishment should players choose to kneel, he expressed that the league has a rule in place disallowing players from sitting or kneeling during the anthem. 

In the memo, obtained by Complex Sports, Tatum asked that teams use their season openers “to demonstrate your commitment to the NBA’s core values of equality, diversity, inclusion and serve as a unifying force in the community.” The memo continued: 

If you have not done so already, we suggest organizing discussions between players, coaches, general managers and ownership to hear the players’ perspectives.

One approach would be for team leadership to review existing team and league initiatives and encourage players to share their thoughts and ideas about them. Following those conversations, teams could develop plans prior to the start of the regular season for initiatives that players and senior leadership could participate in, such as:

  • Hosting Community Conversations with youth, parents, community leaders and law enforcement about the challenges we face and our shared responsibility to create positive change.
  • Creating “Building Bridges Through Basketball” programs that use the game of basketball to bring people together and deepen important bonds of trust and respect between young people, mentors, community leaders, law enforcement and other first responders.
  • Highlighting the importance of mentoring with the goal of adding 50,000 new mentors to support young people through our PSA campaign.
  • Engaging thought leaders and partners.  A variety of experts, speakers and partner organizations are available to players and teams as you continue these conversations and develop programming.
  • Establishing new and/or enhancing ongoing team initiatives and partnerships in the areas of criminal justice reform, economic empowerment and civic engagement.

Teams are urged to show videos prior to tip-off in their efforts to exemplify unity. It was also recommended that a player or coach address fans directly if a message is to be conveyed. 

Earlier this month, NFL players across the country took a knee during the anthem in protest of police brutality and in honor of Colin Kaepernick's decision to spearhead the gesture. This collective demonstration roused a response from the president, causing something of a sociopolitical tidal wave. NBA players Lebron James and Steph Curry both spoke out in support of NFL players’ decision to take a knee, and publicly criticized Donald Trump for claiming they should be fired for doing so. 

More likely than not, individual NBA players or entire teams are going to express their solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement (something their counterparts in the WNBA have been at the forefront of), whether that be in the form of kneeling during the anthem or not. And it's not because they don't have respect for the NBA or the white men who run it. It's because they should have the right to take a stand against the bigotry and racism that continues to plague this country. 

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You Buying This Explanation for Why Colin Kaepernick Wasn’t on That Controversial SI Cover?

Earlier this week, Sports Illustrated released one of the most controversial covers they’ve put out in a long time, even though they probably didn’t necessarily think that it would be all that controversial when they were planning it. As a reaction to all of the protests that took place last weekend after Donald Trump came out and criticized NFL players for taking a knee during the national anthem prior to games, SI put together a cover with the title, “A NATION DIVIDED, SPORTS UNITED.” It featured LeBron James, Steph Curry, Roger Goodell, Steve Kerr, Michael Bennett, and Candace Parker on it, among others.

As soon as the SI cover started circulating on social media, the first question most people had was: “WTF is Roger Goodell doing on it?” While Goodell did release a statement and—sort of—distance himself and the NFL from Trump’s anti-protest comments, he hasn’t exactly gone out of his way to support the players who have protested racial injustices and police brutality over the last year. And lest you forget, he’s kept quiet with regards to the petition that a handful of players sent him over the summer asking for the NFL to devote an entire month to social activism. So his inclusion on the SI cover was puzzling at best and downright disrespectful at worst in the eyes of many.

It also didn’t take very long for people to start asking another question once they got a glance at the cover: “Where is Colin Kaepernick?” Kaepernick is obviously the reason that this SI cover even exists in the first place. If he doesn’t take a knee during the national anthem before a preseason game last season, and if he doesn’t continue to take a knee during the national anthem before every regular-season game last year, and if he doesn’t influence other players to start taking a knee during the national anthem before games, and if he doesn’t get blackballed by the NFL in the offseason for igniting the entire #TakeAKnee movement, there is no reason for SI to do a “NATION DIVIDED, SPORTS UNITED” cover. So—where is Colin Kaepernick?

A lot of people asked this question:

Hell, even Curry, who was featured front and center on the SI cover, thought it was completely idiotic for SI to run a cover like this without giving a nod to the guy who is responsible for it existing. He went off on the cover on Wednesday and accused SI of trying to capitalize on the moment rather than actually doing something impactful for the culture.

“That was terrible,” he said. “Just kind of capitalizing on the hoopla and the media and all that nonsense. The real people that understand exactly what’s been going on and who’s really been active and vocal and truly making a difference, if you don’t have Kaepernick front and center on that, something’s wrong. It’s kind of hard to see how certain narratives take place, being prisoners of the moment.”

On Thursday, SI attempted to cover its ass by having Executive Editor Steve Cannella put together a video to explain the magazine’s original intention when they first conceived the cover. And it’s a great video—if you’re a fan of hearing someone use a bunch of buzz words that sound important. You can hear all about the “enduring message” of unity that SI was trying to get across with their cover below or here.

But what about the omission of Kaepernick? Again: Where was he? Cannella touched on that, too, and in doing so, he tried to sell everyone on the idea that Kaepernick was on the cover, even if he wasn’t actually there in the physical form.

“In some ways, even though his picture is not there, Colin Kaepernick is there; I think we all know that,” he said. “Colin Kaepernick—for lack of a better word—was looming over everything that happened this past weekend, and looms over many of the issues in society right now.”

Cannella continued by saying that SI’s intention wasn’t to ignore Kaepernick (for the record, he was mentioned at length in the accompanying cover story). Rather, the magazine wanted to shine light on some of the other professional athletes who stepped up in his absence last weekend—since, again, he has essentially been blackballed by the NFL—and continued to carry out his message.

“I thought what we were trying to capture with this cover was the way new voices emerged this weekend,” he said.

And later, he once again tried to push the idea that Kaepernick was a part of the cover even though, well, he wasn’t.

Colin Kaepernick is on that cover,” Cannella said. “Even if his face and his name aren’t there, we all know who stands behind this movement. We all know who got it started. Colin Kaepernick has many more brothers than he did a week ago.”

The problem with all of this is that by not including Kaepernick on the cover, SI—and those who are in favor of the message SI presented with its cover—are taking the focus away from what Kaepernick was protesting last season and instead turning it into a completely different issue. The “united” approach that SI took when it put its cover together is now leading to protests that really aren’t protests at all.

Kaepernick made it very clear why he was protesting shortly after his first protest went public.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color,” he said. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder…I have to stand up for people that are oppressed.”

So by pushing Kaepernick out of the spotlight—or in this case, off of the SI cover—you’re also pushing the message that he fought so hard to get out there last season out of the spotlight, too. And you’re replacing it with a different message that is overshadowing the one that should be front and center right now. Just like Kaepernick should be front and center on that SI cover.

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Chance the Rapper Debuts Untitled Track f/ Daniel Caesar With Stellar Performance on ‘The Late Show’

New Chance the Rapper has arrived. The Grammy award-winning rapper appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert  on Monday night and blessed us with an electrifying performance of his new Daniel Caesar featured track. The track is so new that it doesn't even have a title yet. Chance, who wrote the song just two days ago, previously premiered the track “Angels” on Late Show

Colbert took the opportunity to address the #TakeTheKnee protests that have been sweeping the NFL following inflammatory comments made by Trump. 

Though Chance's last project was 2016's collaborative Christmas mixtape with Jeremih, Merry Christmas Lil' Mama, the Chicago musician has been keeping busy. Chance linked with Colbert, dropping a politically charged verse, for the opening musical number at this year's 69th Primetime Emmy Awards . He has also been performing, featured on a handful of tracks, and even kinda helped to save SouundCloudChance dropped the stellar fourteen track mixtape Coloring Book back in May 2016.  

Oh, and let's keep our fingers crossed for that much-anticipated Chance The Rapper and Childish Gambino collaboration. In the meantime, check out Chance's new song in the video above. You can also check out the interview Chance did with Colbert on Monday's show, which features him talking about the campaign that fans started to try and make him the mayor of Chicago, below.

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Donald Trump Only Supports Free Speech When It’s White People Speaking

Donald Trump is not slick. He thinks he is, but he's not. For one, President U. Bum still hasn't figured out how to thread tweets.

Exhibit A: this disjointed, idiotic statement he made over the weekend about the legal, peaceful NFL demonstrations against police brutality and racism, which started with the still-unemployed Colin Kaepernick. After calling them “sons of bitches,” Trump insisted that players exercising their First Amendment rights be fired for “disrespect” to the national anthem and flag. 

Because America is already (somewhat) great, that statement was met with even more player protests, some of which included the very owners Trump attempted to appeal to. But that didn't stop him from doubling down on his stance Monday, insisting 1) it wasn't about race; and 2) that players not be vocal or demonstrative about their legitimate criticisms of this country's fucked-up, systematic, race-based issues.

Trump is mindbogglingly inconsistent in his support or criticism of free speech. But, as it turns out, he's pretty damn consistent with when he chooses to be critical. Instead of telling you, I'll just show you.

Trump had a busy weekend on Twitter; in addition to dropping his unsolicited opinion about the NFL, he announced he was rescinding his White House visit offer to Steph Curry, leaving Curry's team, the Golden State Warriors, with no choice but to decline the visit as a unit.

Even though Trump attributed the reason for the withdrawal to Curry's “hesitation,” the basketball star had been made it abundantly clear that his stance is unwavering against Trump and his dangerous rhetoric. It's pretty safe to assume Trump's decision was made in response to Curry's personal opinion, which he has every right to vocalize.

And then there's the incredibly messy case of ESPN correspondent Jemele Hill's recent criticism of Trump. In a conversation on Twitter, Hill unabashedly (and correctly) called Trump a white supremacist.

In retaliation, the Trump administration, via White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, recommended Hill be fired.

“I think that's one of the more outrageous comments that anyone can make,” Sanders said during a press briefing, “and certainly something that I think is a fireable offense by ESPN.”

What do the aforementioned presidentially shunned figures have in common? Yep, that's right: they're all people of color. Keep that in mind. Let's press on.

In contrast, Trump praised figures in the NASCAR industry Monday for saying anyone who protests in the sport would be fired, effectively quashing members' rights to demonstrate peacefully.

You don't need Google to know that NASCAR is one of, if not the whitest sport in the world. But in case you need some context: this summer, Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. became the first black driver to race at NASCAR's top level in more than a decade. The reason he made it in? He replaced another driver, who was injured in a wreck. So, here we have Donald, supporting the very white NASCAR owners and corporate leaders, for making it clear that they don't support free speech. Got it.

But wait a minute. Let's go back to February, when Trump threatened U.C. Berkley with the revocation of federal funds because they did not “allow free speech.” In this instance, Trump tweeted in defense of former Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos, whose inflammatory, racist speeches regularly incite riots and violent protests.  

But wait a minute, take two: just last month, Trump tweeted in support of protestors in Boston, who counter-demonstrated against a self-described free speech rally that was held one week after the convening of white supremacists in Charlottesville that turned deadly.

Hmm… what is it about Boston that makes it different than say, Ferguson or Baltimore? Why might Trump be more willing to support protestors there?

Looking a little funny in the light there, President Bum.

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Joe Budden and DJ Akademiks Discuss J. Cole’s NFL Boycott on ‘Everyday Struggle’

On today's Everyday Struggle, Joe Budden, DJ Akademiks, and Nadeska celebrate the show's 100th episode while diving into some news, like J. Cole calling for an NFL boycott because of Donald Trump, Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott's rumored pregnancy, and much more. The group also jump into a number of new music releases, including Rapsody, Kevin Gates, and Young Thug

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