While Colin Kaepernick has reportedly been invited to attend a one-on-one meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, conflicting comments from the parties have left the status of the meeting unsure.
A league spokesman told ESPN about the invitation to the controversial former San Francisco 49ers quarterback. And while Kaepernick’s attorney Mark Geragos told ABC News they “responded immediately that Colin would be happy to attend,” the meeting apparently fell through.
The free agent would not allegedly be allowed by the NFL to have a mediator in the meeting, according to Geragos.
Kaepernick was texted on Oct. 31 by the National Football League’s executive vice president of football operations, Troy Vincent, about talks players and owners had been having about several social issues, league spokesman Joe Lockhart told ESPN Tuesday.
Vincent invited Kaepernick to meet with Goodell but the league had not heard back from him, according to Lockhart.
“We responded immediately that Colin would be happy to attend,” Geragos countered in a statement provided to ABC News, ESPN reported.”Because of the grievance we asked that a mediator be present. A mediator also would ensure that the discussions were productive and confidential and not used as a PR stunt or prop by the league. Colin’s proposal was rejected.”
But the NFL was not about to take the response lying down and Lockhart fired back.
“Mr. Geragos’ statement alone violates the collective bargaining agreement, breaking the confidentiality of the grievance process,” he told ESPN. “So he can save his lecture on PR stunts. The invitation remains open.”
During a conference call on Tuesday, Lockhart said Kaepernick would be welcome to participate in any larger NFL meetings with league executives, players and owners, ESPN reported.
“This isn’t about his lawyer. This isn’t about a mediator. The question of, ‘Has [Colin] been invited in?’ the answer is yes,” Lockhart told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday. “This isn’t part of any grievance process. This is part of the overall discussion we’ve been having on some of these social issues.”
Kaepernick, who hasn’t played professional football since severing his contract with the San Francisco 49ers, ignited a firestorm when he refused to stand during the national anthem in a 2016 preseason game. He filed a “collusion” case against the league last month alleging team owners colluded to prevent him from signing an NFL contract.
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According to Yahoo! Sports:
Members of Kaepernick’s camp told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday that he’s still open to meeting with Goodell privately. But any talks would be about the social justice issues that the NFL and players have been discussing – not about the grievance he has filed accusing the league of blackballing him from a roster spot. Lockhart said the NFL would be open to that social activism dialogue in a one-on-one setting that allowed Goodell to speak directly to Kaepernick. But any request for a mediator would shut down the plan.
“If he wants to come in and have a discussion with the commissioner, he’s welcome to come in,” Lockhart said. “We don’t need a third-party. The commissioner has met with and talked to a bunch of players and they don’t have mediators.”
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