Newswise — Nathaniel Grow, associate professor of business law and ethics in the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, said Colin Kaepernick faces an uphill battle in proving his collusion claim against the NFL owners.
"The NFL's collective bargaining agreement prohibits teams from agreeing with one another not to negotiate with, or sign, a particular player. However, such a claim requires proof that the league's teams actively agreed with one another not to sign Kaepernick," Grow said.
"This means that Kaepernick will need to provide evidence showing that the NFL teams have jointly agreed not to sign him to a contract in order to prevail in the arbitration. For instance, if he can uncover emails where league officials encouraged teams not to sign him, that would help substantiate his claim. This is the sort of evidence Major League Baseball players were able to use to successfully prosecute a grievance claim against their league owners in the 1980s.
"Conversely, if it turns out that each of the 32 NFL teams has instead simply decided individually not to sign Kaepernick -- whether because they didn't need another quarterback, didn't think Kaepernick was a good fit in their system, or simply didn't want to invite controversy -- then his grievance against the league will likely fail."
Grow, whose research interests also include both the application of federal antitrust and labor law to the professional sports industry, can be reached at [email protected] or 812-855-8191.