Nets Tout Kaepernick Going ‘On Offense’ Against NFL

Monday’s network morning shows all promoted former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick suing the NFL and claiming that all 32 League teams were in “collusion” against hiring him, despite a complete lack of evidence for his claims.

“On Offense. Colin Kaepernick files a grievance against the NFL, accusing owners of colluding to keep him out of the League for kneeling during the National Anthem. Does he have a case?” Matt Lauer proclaimed at the top of NBC’s Today. Spoiler alert: Kaepernick did not have much of a case.   

 

 

In the report that followed minutes later, correspondent Miguel Almaguer announced:

It’s an issue that’s become a political lightning rod. NFL players protesting during the National Anthem becoming a divisive topic nationwide. Now the man who started the movement, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, is suing the NFL, saying he’s being forced out of the League.

Declaring that Kaepernick was “fighting to get back on the field,” Almaguer touted how the left-wing radical was “the first NFL player to take a knee during the National Anthem, protesting racial inequality and social injustice.”  

“Kaepernick’s filing alleges all 32 team owners violated the League’s collective bargaining agreement, an effort to prevent Kaepernick from playing this season,” the reporter explained. Though Almaguer acknowledged that “legal experts say Kaepernick could have a hard time proving collusion.”

Wrapping up the segment, the journalist gushed: “Kaepernick taking a knee to stand up for what he believes in, and now, filing a grievance. The National Anthem protests Kaepernick started are still happening today, six players on his former team, the San Francisco 49ers, took a knee on Sunday before their game.”

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Introducing the topic on ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos hyped: “We move on now to Colin Kaepernick, who is taking action against the NFL, claiming team owners colluded to keep him from playing because he led the movement to kneel during the National Anthem as a protest against police violence.”

Painting Kaepernick as the victim, correspondent Ryan Smith described the athlete “claiming owners are making an example of him to other players of the repercussions of challenging the NFL” and “accusing the League and all 32 team owners of colluding to keep him off the field.”

“Kaepernick pointing to his refusal to stand during the National Anthem last season as a way to protest racial injustice as the reason for his unemployment,” Smith added, “A response he said at the time he anticipated.” A soundbite ran of Kaepernick asserting: “You’re going to have that backlash for trying to fight for people.”

Like his NBC colleague, Smith waited until the end of the report to point out that Kaepernick’s accusations were not backed up by evidence:

...it’s really tough....he’s got to prove that either two teams or a few teams or a team in the NFL got together and tried to keep him from employment. And he’s got to prove that by clear and convincing evidence. So he’s got to produce something actual, e-mails, something in writing at this point, and that’s very difficult to do, I think.

CBS This Morning did not devote a full report to Kaepernick’s legal action, but late in the 7 a.m. ET hour, co-host Norah O’Donnell did offer this uncritical news brief:

USA Today reports quarterback Colin Kaepernick filed a collusion grievance against NFL. The former San Francisco 49er claims he remains unsigned because team owners colluded after his protests during the National Anthem. The NFL Players Union supports the grievance. Last year Kaepernick sat and then knelt during the National Anthem to bring attention to racial inequality.

On the first weekday after President Trump’s criticism of the NFL protests created by Kaepernick, the networks provided an avalanche of negative coverage. NBC hailed a “firestorm of resistance” against the President, ABC suggested there were racial overtones to Trump remarks, and CBS praised Kaepernick as a “bridge builder.”

Monday’s biased coverage across all three networks was brought to viewers by Honda, Chevron, and Neutrogena.

Here are full transcripts of the October 16 NBC and ABC reports:

Today
7:00 AM ET TEASE:

MATT LAUER: On Offense. Colin Kaepernick files a grievance against the NFL, accusing owners of colluding to keep him out of the League for kneeling during the National Anthem. Does he have a case?

7:14 AM ET SEGMENT:

MATT LAUER: In other news, there’s new fallout tied to those controversial National Anthem protests in the NFL. Colin Kaepernick, who was the first to take a knee last season and is currently out of the League, is filing a grievance accusing team owners of conspiring against him. NBC National Correspondent Miguel Almaguer has that story. Miguel, good morning.  

MIGUEL ALAMAGUER: Matt, good morning. It’s an issue that’s become a political lightning rod. NFL players protesting during the National Anthem becoming a divisive topic nationwide. Now the man who started the movement, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, is suing the NFL, saying he’s being forced out of the League.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Colin Kaepernick vs. The NFL; QB Files Collusion Grievance Against Owners]

This morning, free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick is fighting to get back on the field. Last season becoming the first NFL player to take a knee during the National Anthem, protesting racial inequality and social injustice. Now Kaepernick is filing a grievance against the NFL, his high-profile attorney Mark Geragos claiming League-wide collusion has kept Kaepernick from a job after he became a free agent this spring.

DONALD TRUMP: Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired.”  

ALAMAGUER: President Trump waded into the issue last month. Kaepernick’s filing alleges all 32 team owners violated the League’s collective bargaining agreement, an effort to prevent Kaepernick from playing this season. With the NFL declining comment, the Players Association says in a statement they have “a duty to assist Mr. Kaepernick as we do all players and we will support him.” But legal experts say Kaepernick could have a hard time proving collusion.

CARI GRIEB [ATTORNEY & SPORTS LAW PROFESSOR]: There needs to be an agreement that he has to have evidence of in order to successfully prove his collusion claim.

ALMAGUER: In a statement, Kaepernick’s legal team says his goal remains to “simply be treated fairly by the League he performed at the highest level for and to return to the football playing field.”

MIKE FLORIO [NBC SPORTS]: There are plenty of coaches out there who could take a guy like Colin Kaepernick and get the most out of him based on his skills and ability.

ALMAGUER: Kaepernick taking a knee to stand up for what he believes in, and now, filing a grievance. The National Anthem protests Kaepernick started are still happening today, six players on his former team, the San Francisco 49ers, took a knee on Sunday before their game. Matt and Savannah, back to you guys.

LAUER: Alright, Miguel, thank you very much.


Good Morning America
7:15 AM ET

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We move on now to Colin Kaepernick, who is taking action against the NFL, claiming team owners colluded to keep him from playing because he led the movement to kneel during the National Anthem as a protest against police violence. ABC’s Ryan Smith is here with the latest. Good morning, Ryan.

RYAN SMITH: Good morning, George. You know, Colin Kaepernick has yet to speak out publicly about his lack of NFL employment, but now he’s letting his lawyers do the talking, claiming owners are making an example of him to other players of the repercussions of challenging the NFL.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Colin Kaepernick Goes On the Offense; QB Accuses NFL Owners of Colluding to Keep Him Off Field]  

This morning, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick challenging the NFL, accusing the League and all 32 team owners of colluding to keep him off the field. According to documents obtained by ABC News, the unsigned free agent quarterback claims “Multiple NFL head coaches and general managers stated they wanted to sign Mr. Kaepernick, only to mysteriously go silent with no explanation and no contract offer made.” Kaepernick pointing to his refusal to stand during the National Anthem last season as a way to protest racial injustice as the reason for his unemployment. A response he said at the time he anticipated.

COLIN KAEPERNICK: You’re going to have that backlash for trying to fight for people.

SMITH: With more than three dozen quarterbacks signed since Kaepernick hit free agency, his lawyers now filing a grievance with the NFL for violating the League’s collective bargaining agreement, pointing out Kaepernick is an ideal candidate with six seasons on the 49ers, where he led his team to the Super Bowl.

AREVA MARTIN [LEGAL ANALYST]: When you file a grievance through the collective bargaining process, you’re going to have your grievance adjudicated by an arbitrator. They’re going to have to defend their decisions not to hire Kaepernick, it’s going to come down to what evidence is produced during the discovery process.

SMITH: Now the NFL has yet to comment, but Roger Goodell has previously dismissed claims of Kaepernick being blackballed, saying that hiring decisions are left up to individual teams.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And it’s not going to be easy for Kaepernick to prove collusion.

SMITH: No, it’s really tough. You talk about – he’s got to prove that either two teams or a few teams or a team in the NFL got together and tried to keep him from employment. And he’s got to prove that by clear and convincing evidence. So he’s got to produce something actual, e-mails, something in writing at this point, and that’s very difficult to do, I think.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Ryan, thanks very much.

NB Daily Liberals & Democrats Sports ABC Good Morning America CBS CBS This Morning NBC Today Video NFL Miguel Almaguer George Stephanopoulos Norah O'Donnell

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