As buzz swirls over Colin Kaepernick and Seahawks, Cowboys’ Jerry Jones deposed in grievance case

Charles Robinson
·NFL columnist

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is sitting for his deposition in the Colin Kaepernick collusion grievance in a Thursday session that will also be attended by the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback.

The deposition is slated to cover several hours and take place in Frisco, Texas, the home base of the Cowboys’ multibillion-dollar practice complex. Interestingly, it took place as news broke that the Seattle Seahawks had arranged a workout for Kaepernick that was slated for Monday, but then was subsequently canceled by the team’s front office. According to a source who spoke to Yahoo Sports, Seattle’s cancellation of Kaepernick’s visit came after the quarterback declined to make a commitment to halting his kneeling during the national anthem as a form of protest against racial and social inequalities. A conflicting report from the NFL Network said the Seahawks simply wanted “a plan” in place from Kaepernick before following through on a workout.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was questioned by Colin Kaepernick's legal team on Thursday. (AP)
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was questioned by Colin Kaepernick’s legal team on Thursday. (AP)

The news created a dramatic backdrop for Thursday’s deposition of the Cowboys’ Jones – particularly given Kaepernick’s attendance. It marks the second time Kaepernick will have attended complaint proceedings with an NFL owner, including the March deposition of the Houston Texans’ Bob McNair. At least four other NFL owners are still on the docket for depositions, including the New England Patriots’ Robert Kraft, the Miami Dolphins’ Stephen Ross, the Seattle Seahawks’ Paul Allen and the San Francisco 49ers’ Jed York.

While the content of the depositions is sealed in the complaint arbitration process, Jones’ inclusion is believed to stem from several factors. Among them: Previous statements the Cowboys owner made about retribution against NFL players who kneel during the national anthem; conversations Jones had with President Donald Trump about the league’s response to protesting during the anthem; and Jones’ business relationship with former Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter, who raised eyebrows while making critical remarks about the NFL’s response to protests during an earnings call last November.

Like the Texans’ McNair, Jones has remained squarely in a group of NFL owners that have criticized social protests as being bad for the league’s bottom line. He’s also among a group that have continually pressured league commissioner Roger Goodell to end kneeling during the national anthem – and is expected to be one of the owners who will push for a resolution in May, when owners are slated to meet in Atlanta to discuss the topic again.

Kaepernick hasn't formally worked out for an NFL team since becoming a free agent in 2017. (Getty Images)
Kaepernick hasn’t formally worked out for an NFL team since becoming a free agent in 2017. (Getty Images)

Sources familiar with the deposition dockets from Kaepernick’s camp and the NFL have previously told Yahoo Sports the discovery proceedings are expected to last at least several more months, but could stretch into 2019.

As it stands, a multitude of depositions have already taken place, including the NFL’s attorneys questioning Kaepernick under oath earlier this week in New York. Other league individuals beyond Jones and McNair have already been questioned, including Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome and head coach John Harbaugh. Goodell has not yet been deposed, but is expected to sit for the proceedings in the coming months.

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