Lawyers for Colin Kaepernick are set to subpoena President Trump in the former quarterback’s collusion case against the NFL, according to Yahoo Sports.
Sources tell Yahoo, Kaepernick’s legal team will reportedly spend the next several weeks trying to compel testimony from Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and others familiar with Trump’s agenda against NFL protests. Kaepernick’s lawyers are seeking to link the Trump administration’s political influence on the NFL to Kaepernick’s ongoing free agency and the league’s efforts to deal with the demonstrations.
Kaepernick’s lawyers will have to clear at least one hurdle to get the President’s testimony. They’ll have to convince the arbitrator that Trump’s testimony will be impactful and relevant to the case. If the arbitrator rules in favor of Kaepernick, his legal team could then go to a district court to try and get a judge to order the subpoena under the Federal Arbitration Act. There are also issues surrounding whether a sitting President can be forced to testify under a subpoena. Those questions are currently being ironed out in the ongoing Russia investigation being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
The potential Trump subpoena is the latest major development in the NFL’s national anthem controversy. Last month, the league announced rule changes that would require players on the field to stand for the national anthem. Players who participate in protests by kneeling, or other means, would leave their teams subject to a fine. Players who do not want to stand during the song are being given the option to stay in the locker room.
While a member of the San Francisco 49ers in 2016, Kaepernick was the first player to kneel for the anthem in protest of racial injustice and police brutality. Kaepernick’s weekly demonstrations led other players to follow suit in 2017. The former star QB has yet to sign with an NFL team since the end of the 2016 season. Kaepernick threw 16 touchdowns and just four interceptions during the season, but the Niners were just 1-10 in Kaepernick starts.
President Trump has been outspoken about his objection to the protests. During a rally last year, Trump used an expletive to describe kneeling players and called for their firings. He also said the NFL didn’t go far enough with its new anthem rules and suggests players who do not stand for the anthem “shouldn’t be in the country.”