Robert Mueller’s team has been reported to be considering a subpoena for Donald Trump for months, but there’s a chance a football player may beat Mueller to the punch.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been in a legal battle with the National Football League since October, alleging that he’s been blacklisted by the league because of his protests against police violence and racism, including his refusal to stand for the national anthem.

According to a Thursday report from Yahoo Sports, Kaepernick’s legal team is expected to subpoena Trump, Vice President Mike Pence “and other officials familiar with the president’s agenda on protesting NFL players.”

Lawyers for Kaepernick want to determine whether the Trump administration interfered in the NFL’s affairs while Kaepernick was a free agent, preventing him from getting a spot on a new team. This comes, Yahoo notes, “after recent disclosures that multiple owners had direct talks with Trump about players kneeling during the national anthem.”

Yahoo Sports reports that those conversations “are expected to shape the requests to force the testimony of Trump, Pence and other affiliated officials, sources said.”

According to  Talking Points Memo, Trump “pressured the NFL to punish players who knelt during the anthem, a protest Kaepernick started at the beginning of the 2016 season.” The NFL recently made a rule requiring that players stand during the anthem or risk a fine against their teams, and “franchise leaders admitted that Trump’s name had come up in discussions of the rule.”

Lawyers will first have to go through the NFL’s system arbitrator, who handles conflicts between management and the players union, proving the need for depositions from Trump and members of his administration even though such testimony is beyond the usual scope of the collective bargaining agreement.

The issue of NFL protests has been a convenient one for Trump, a way to easily stoke his base. As Yahoo points out, he’s been using it as a talking point in rallies since at least September 2017, and as recently as May he told “Fox & Friends”: “You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing—you shouldn’t be there.” Trump continued, “Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”


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