Colin Kaepernick won a small but important victory on Thursday in his collusion claim against the NFL. The NFL filed a motion for summary judgement to get the claim dismissed, but the system arbitrator denied the request.
Kaepernick’s attorney’s have been pursuing extensive discovery over the past year. Article 17 of the collective bargaining agreement covers collusion, and section 7 provides that the NFL can request the arbitrator decide if there is sufficient evidence, “to raise a genuine issue of material fact” to suggest collusion happened.
When a motion for summary judgment is filed, the court assumes all the facts raised by the opposing side are true, and if that is the case, is there an issue of material fact. In this instance, the arbitrator is saying if everything Kaepernick says is true, there is sufficient evidence to move forward.
This does not mean Kaepernick is going to win his grievance. It doesn’t even mean that everything he is saying is true. Rather, it means the grievance process will continue and Kaepernick’s attorneys will get the opportunity to prove their claims. There will be an arbitration hearing, followed by a potential appeal to a three-person panel, followed by an appeal to federal courts.
Collusion is tough to prove, so there is a long way to go in this, but this is an important victory for Kaepernick.