Attorneys for National Football League (NFL) free agent Colin Kaepernick will reportedly seek federal subpoenas for President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to testify in his grievance against NFL owners who Kaepernick claims are preventing him from joining the league.
Sources told Yahoo Sports that the attorneys will also subpoena officials with knowledge of President Trump’s agenda against Kaepernick and other football players who have protested racial inequality by kneeling during the national anthem.
The same sources said they suspect the subpoenas to be shaped by conversations Trump had with team owners and any forms of pressure placed on the NFL by the administration.
Kaepernick filed the grievance last year, claiming that owners colluded to prevent him from signing with a team. In the filing, attorneys for Kaepernick wrote that Trump was “an organizing force in the collusion among team owners in their conduct towards” the quarterback.
They also touched on President Trump’s public attacks on the protests, claiming that the president “engaged in various public relations stunts designed to retaliate against Mr. Kaepernick and other players that have joined” him in kneeling during the anthem.
President Trump has repeatedly condemned players for taking a knee.
On Tuesday, he renewed these attacks in earnest when he canceled the Philadelphia Eagles’ White House visit.
“Staying in the locker room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling,” Trump wrote on Twitter regarding the cancellation, though reports have revealed that no Eagles players took a knee during the anthem last season. “Sorry!”
The Philadelphia Eagles Football Team was invited to the White House. Unfortunately, only a small number of players decided to come, and we canceled the event. Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
Last month, the NFL announced a new policy stating that if any players or personnel of a team fail to “stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem” the team itself will be subjected to fines.
“We want people to be respectful of the national anthem,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “We want people to stand — that’s all personnel — and make sure they treat this moment in a respectful fashion. That’s something we think we owe.”