Sunday, October 29, 2017

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Trump’s Big Mouth May Have Given Colin Kaepernick a Case Against the NFL

The president may be key to the quarterback winning his collusion grievance.


Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
Colin Kaepernick’s accusation that NFL owners have colluded to keep him out of the league feels true. As more starting NFL quarterbacks get hurt and more obviously inferior quarterbacks get jobs that might have gone to the former San Francisco 49ers QB, the evidence seems clearer and clearer that he is being blackballed. But to win the grievance he filed against the league on Sunday, Kaepernick must prove collusion has taken place. Per the league’s collective bargaining agreement, he needs to demonstrate that two or more NFL teams, or one or more team and the NFL itself, acted in concert through an “express or implied” agreement to limit his employment options.
Kaepernick’s legal team will try to clear that bar by pointing at the Oval Office. Their argument, essentially, is that the president served as a go-between in pushing owners to agree to blackball the quarterback for instigating a league-wide protest movement. Consider this passage from Kaepernick’s confidential grievance letter, which was made public by ABC News:
The owners … have been quoted describing their communications with President Trump, who has been an organizing force in the collusion among team owners in their conduct towards Mr. Kaepernick and other NFL players. Owners have described the Trump Administration as causing paradigm shifts in their views toward NFL players.
What evidence might Kaepernick draw on to make the case that Trump abetted a league-wide collusive effort?
Some of Trump’s communications with NFL owners are a matter of public record. On March 19, he hosted New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Air Force One. One day later, the president told supporters at a rally in Louisville, Kentucky: “It was reported that NFL owners don’t want to pick [Kaepernick] up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. Do you believe that?”
The article Trump seemed to cite in that Louisville speech—Bleacher Reportpiece by Mike Freeman—quoted an unnamed general manager who analyzed why no NFL team had signed Kaepernick. Here is that quote:
First, some teams genuinely believe that he can’t play. They think he’s shot. I’d put that number around 20 percent.
Second, some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him. They think there might be protests or [President Donald] Trump will tweet about the team. I’d say that number is around 10 percent. Then there’s another 10 percent that has a mix of those feelings.
Third, the rest genuinely hate him and can’t stand what he did [kneeling for the national anthem]. They want nothing to do with him. They won’t move on.
The implication there is that the president had helped persuade 10 to 20 percent of the league—three to six teams—not to sign Kaepernick. The quote also suggests that the general manager had discussed Kaepernick’s employment status with officials from other teams. “[Some teams] think showing no interest is a form of punishment,” the team official said. “I think some teams also want to use Kaepernick as a cautionary tale to stop other players in the future from doing what he did.” If it can be proved that any opposing team officials openly or implicitly discussed retaliating against Kaepernick in this way, that certainly sounds like good evidence of collusion.
Trump has also had the ear of one of the NFL’s other most influential owners: Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys. Last month, the president tweeted about a conversation he’d had with Jones:
Shortly after that, Jones said he would bench any player who demonstrated during the national anthem and stated that Trump had reminded him about an NFL policy that encouraged players to stand during the anthem.
In addition, ESPN reported that on the same day Jones spoke with Trump, 25 NFL owners convened at league headquarters to discuss the protests Kaepernick had helped spark. According to ESPN, Jones told his fellow owners that if players were allowed to keep protesting, then Trump would continue to punish the NFL:
In the meeting, many owners wanted to speak, but the discussion soon was “hijacked,” in the words of one owner, by Jones, a $1 million contributor to Trump’s inaugural committee fund. … The blunt Hall of Famer mentioned that he had spoken by phone, more than once over the past 24 hours, with Trump. Jones said the president, who only a few years ago tried to buy the Buffalo Bills, had no intention of backing down from his criticism of the NFL and its players. Jones—who a day earlier for Monday Night Football in Arizona had orchestrated a team-wide kneeling before the anthem ahead of rising to stand when it started to play—repeated his refrain that the protests weren’t good for the NFL in the long run.
In the days after that meeting, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell backtracked on his public support of protesting players, sending a league-wide memorandum arguing that the “current dispute over the National Anthem is threatening to erode the unifying power of our game.” Goodell also reportedly considered a tweak to the league’s operations manual that would have made standing for the anthem obligatory.
It will be up to a neutral arbitrator—reportedly, University of Pennsylvania law professor Stephen Burbank—to determine whether all this information adds up to a strong implicit collusion case. Kaepernick’s legal team, though, won’t necessarily have to rely solely on publicly available evidence.
While Burbank will ultimately decide what evidentiary maneuvers to allow, a source generally familiar with how such arbitration proceedings work told me that Kaepernick’s lawyers might be able to depose those NFL owners who have met with Trump. That source added that Kaepernick’s legal team could request all electronic communications among and between teams about Kaepernick—potentially millions of words of emails, texts, and documents. A third-party electronic discovery vendor would look through this metadata for search terms like KaepernickColinanthemprotests, and Trump, and provide Kaepernick’s lawyers with relevant evidence. Again, it will be up to the arbitrator to decide whether to allow such a search to go forward. If league and team officials refuse to turn over this information, the arbitrator could use that refusal as grounds to rule adversely against them. (This was what Roger Goodell did as arbitrator when he cited Tom Brady’s refusal to turn over relevant texts in his decision to suspend the New England Patriots quarterback over deflategate.)
The grievance letter filed by Kaepernick on Sunday puts the NFL and all 32 teams on notice that they “are required by law to preserve all documents, emails, text messages, memoranda, notes, and all other electronically stored information (ESI) which is reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence in this action.” Finding definitive proof in all of that data might not be necessary to prove collusion, though.
Gene Orza, the lawyer who defeated Major League Baseball to the tune of $280 million in an epochal 1980s collusion case, told CNNMoney that a “smoking gun was not the basis of that [MLB] decision. Instead it was simply the inference of collusion, that all of [a] sudden not one player who was a free agent was getting an offer.” The NFL uses a “clear preponderance of evidence” standard in its arbitration, though, and MLB did not at that time. This will make beating the league a heavier lift for Kaepernick, as will the fact that he’s currently the lone player who has allegedly been blackballed and is a legitimately controversial figure. Two years ago, for example, Barry Bonds lost his arbitration proceeding after accusing MLB of colluding to blackball him after controversies surrounding his use of performance-enhancing drugs.
William Gould, a former National Labor Relations Board chairman and salary arbitrator for Major League Baseball, told USA Today that Kaepernick is “going to have to show some kind of pattern—of dealings with the clubs, where clubs were aware that he was willing and able to work, where there was some sort of communication with him and then [those clubs for] unexplained reasons went elsewhere.”
This pattern is precisely what Kaepernick alleges in his grievance:
NFL teams exhibited unusual and bizarre behavior regarding Mr. Kaepernick’s prospective employment. Multiple NFL head coaches and general managers stated that they wanted to sign Mr. Kaepernick, only to mysteriously go silent with no explanation and no contract offer made to Mr. Kaepernick. Other NFL teams stated they had no interest in Mr. Kaepernick and refused to explain why. NFL teams who ran offensive systems favorable to Mr. Kaepernick’s style of play instead employed retired quarterbacks or quarterbacks who had not played in a regular season game in years, and signed them to significant contracts while prohibiting Mr. Kaepernick from even trying out or interviewing for those jobs.
We know the NFL is full of quarterbacks who aren’t as good as Colin Kaepernick. We’ll soon find out if this fact means Kaepernick will emerge victorious in arbitration. Perhaps, it will ultimately be President Trump’s words and deeds that help the quarterback score a huge win off the field.


Gene Gray & 9Five- Witching Hour (Official Music Video)

Gene Gray Instagram: @gene_gray20 9five Instagram: @9five_ Alias Clothing: Alias Vol.1 Spinrilla: Gene Gray SoundCloud: 9Five SoundCloud:

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Kaepernick’s Case to Break New Ground

The quarterback’s grievance against the NFL calls President Donald Trump an “organizing force” in the alleged collusion

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has filed a grievance alleging collusion by NFL owners.

Colin Kaepernick’s collusion grievance is in many ways unprecedented. And that is why its outcome is so unpredictable.
Kaepernick, the former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers who last year kickstarted the national anthem protests that have roiled the National Football League into this season, alleges that teams have essentially blackballed him over his social activism. His claim involves all 32 teams and one very unlikely character: President Donald Trump, who is named five times in the grievance and cited as an “organizing force” in the alleged collusion.
On a legal level, the case is also unparalleled because no similar claim has been filed against the NFL under the current collective bargaining agreement. While the NFL Players Association has alleged collusion in the past, its most recent claim was taken to court and heard by a judge. This time, under the CBA agreed to by the league and its players in 2011, an arbitrator will make the final ruling.
And so even at a time when the football world has grown accustomed to contentious legal battles—from the Tom Brady “Deflategate” case to the ongoing one over Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension—the Kaepernick case will almost certainly be different.
In theory, this shouldn’t drag on for months, but no one involved claims to know a realistic timetable. It depends in large part on how extensively the two sides battle over Kaepernick’s right to “reasonable and expedited discovery,” as outlined in the CBA. That process potentially includes obtaining documents, such as emails, and depositions, which could force everyone from coaches, general managers and team owners to go on the record about any actions or conversations they participated in related to Kaepernick’s employment in the league. The league is likely to oppose at least some of those requests.
Matt Adler, chair of the arbitration group at Philadelphia-based law firm Pepper Hamilton, says “how many discovery fights there are” could significantly affect the length of the process.
President Donald Trump shakes hands with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft during an event honoring the Patriots at the White House in April.
President Donald Trump shakes hands with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft during an event honoring the Patriots at the White House in April. PHOTO: JOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS
Kaepernick’s grievance notes that commissioner Roger Goodell has said the NFL is a “meritocracy.” Kaepernick, 29 years old, took the 49ers to a Super Bowl and NFC Championship game during his time with the team. Last year, he went 1-10 as a starter and threw 16 touchdowns with four interceptions, while posting the 17th best passer rating in the league. Also last year, Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem, a protest he said was designed to draw attention to racial injustices and police brutality.
These national anthem protests and the social issues behind them were a focal point of a meeting on Tuesday between the league, its owners and players. Afterwards, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said Kaepernick was invited but did not attend. Kaepernick’s lawyers disputed that in a statement, saying other players wanted him to attend but he was not invited. “Mr. Kaepernick is open to future participation on these important discussions,” the statement said.
The grievance says it is “no longer a statistical anomaly but instead a statistical impossibility that Mr. Kaepernick has not been employed or permitted to try out for any NFL team.”
The NFL and NFLPA declined to comment on how the case is likely to play out. In a statement on Sunday, Mark Geragos, the head of Kaepernick’s legal team, said if the NFL “is to remain a meritocracy, then principled and peaceful political protest—which the owners themselves made great theater imitating weeks ago—should not be punished and athletes should not be denied employment based on partisan political provocation by the Executive Branch of our government.”
But the burden of proof from these cases requires more than proving Kaepernick’s statistics are better than some quarterbacks in the league, or citing a consensus among experts that he should be signed. Instead, he will need to prove some sort of coordinated effort between teams, owners and the league to keep him from signing with an organization after he became a free agent on March 3.
“They took special care [in the collective-bargaining agreement] to say you’re not going to win on circumstantial evidence,” Adler said.
In addition, legal experts said, if the evidence shows that each team independently came to a decision that it shouldn’t sign Kaepernick—for whatever reason—then that ultimately could result in a ruling that was no collusion.
Any evidence of collusion could come from evidence Kaepernick’s lawyers obtain during discovery, but they are also likely to point to publicly available comments. Though the grievance names all 32 teams, 10 or so will likely stand out as focal points at the outset because officials or coaches with those teams have previously made public comments regarding Kaepernick or the team’s quarterback situation, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Another person who has spoken repeatedly about Kaepernick is President Trump.
Even before the president’s tweets and statements over the last month blasting NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem the president had spoken out on multiple occasions about Kaepernick’s situation.
During a March rally in Louisville, Trump cited an article saying that “NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. Do you believe that?”
The day before that rally, Trump was seen with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Jerry Jones, the owner and GM of the Cowboys who has said it is team policy that the players will stand during the anthem, has acknowledged talking with Trump about the national anthem issue.
The grievance alleges “calculated coordination” between the league and the executive branch of the U.S. government, and says Trump has been an “organizing force” in the effort. A White House spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Whether those types of comments that are on the record—and whatever turns up in discovery—amount to collusion will be up to the arbitrator, Stephen Burbank, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. After Burbank rules, any appeal would be heard by a three-person panel.
Should Kaepernick win, the CBA entitles him to damages worth up to three times what the arbitrator determines he lost as a result of the collusion. For example, a determination that he would have been paid $15 million means he could net $45 million.
As all of this unfolds, information may be scarce. According to the collective bargaining agreement, arbitration proceedings are confidential “unless the parties agree otherwise.” Kaepernick’s grievance asks the NFL to waive those requirements, though the league has given no indication it would agree to that.

The Curious Case of the NFL’s Endorsement of Criminal-Justice-Reform Bill

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy talk during warmups Oct. 15, 2017, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. (Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

The NFL, the proverbial messy bitch that loves drama, just a week after announcing that team owners would revisit rules about player conduct during the playing of the national anthem, has now decided to throw its weight behind a criminal-justice bill.
NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart announced Monday that the NFL will endorse a bipartisan bill that reduces mandatory-minimum sentences for low-level drug offenses, cuts the “three strikes” rule (which mandates a life sentence after a third drug offense) and offers judges more flexibility in reducing sentences for some low-level crimes.
The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.).
“We felt that this was an issue over the last months, as we have continued to work with our players on issues of equality and on issues of criminal-justice reform, that was surfaced for us, and we thought it was appropriate to lend our support to it,” Lockhart told reporters, according to the Washington Post.
But it’s the timing of the endorsement that’s most striking. The league is still desperately trying to move past the controversy surrounding player protests against racial injustice and police brutality during the playing of the national anthem before NFL games.
The NFL’s action also comes just a day after news broke that former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick is filing a grievance against the NFL’s owners for collusion.
Kaepernick is widely (and justly) credited for bringing social and racial issues to the fore when he began sitting—then taking a knee—during the national anthem. Since then, other players have taken up Kaepernick’s mantle, both on and off the field.
Philadelphia Eagle Malcolm Jenkins, former Baltimore Raven Anquan Boldin and Detroit Lion Glover Quin have all spoken to Congress on the issue of police and criminal-justice reform within the past year.
It’s only now, with the endorsement of the Grassley-Durbin bill, that the league itself has decided to take any action.
The Trump administration hasn’t taken any position on the bill, though it directly contradicts Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ instructions to federal prosecutors earlier this year that they pursue maximum sentences for drug offenses. In fact, despite having broad bipartisan support, the Grassley-Durbin bill has failed to reach the Senate floor. Key Senate Republicans, along with the Klu Klux Keebler himself, have opposed the bill, and Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to bring the measure to the floor.
It’s not clear what impact the league’s endorsement could have on the bill’s passage, but the timing raises questions, to say the least. While individual players have called for criminal-justice and police reform, the Post reports that the league has only recently gotten involved with the legislation:
But a spokesman for Grassley added that the NFL had not coordinated with the bill’s congressional sponsors in advance of its decision. In the meantime, no other sports league has signed on. A spokesman for the NFL Players Association did not immediately return a call for comment about whether the football players’ union would also endorse the bill.
The NFL’s endorsement and its timing rings of other PR-oriented moves the league has made in response to a crisis. After video circulated of former Baltimore running back Ray Rice clocking his then-fiancee in the face, the league doubled down on punishments for players accused of domestic violence. It also kicked off a public-service campaign, “Say No More.” What it didn’t do was actually punish its players (I’m looking at you, Jerry Jones).
The Grassley-Durbin bill is a much-needed step toward reforming the criminal-justice system. Whether the NFL’s endorsement means anything in terms of pushing the bill through remains to be seen, but supporters of Kaepernick and the NFL players’ protest are right to feel conflicted. Supporting the bill is the right thing to do; the league’s motivations for this foray onto Capitol Hill are dubious, to say the least.

St. Louis Protests: What a Police Cover Up Looks Like

TYT Politics Reporter Jordan Chariton spoke with Brother Anthony Shahid, a St. Louis resident who has pushed for transparency from police in the killing of 24-year-old African American Anthony Lamar Smith at the gun of white officer Jason Stockley. St. Louis PD General Non-Emergency: 314-231-1212 Internal Affairs: 314-444-5405 Mayor Lyda Krewson: 314-622-4800

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Acronym from Pole Position (The Winners Circle) by Friction


Saturday, October 14, 2017

#FrictionFocus #Freestyle " Trumps #Cult45 "

The #Cult45 lives and strives based off ignorance, 

This is his constituents making a stand,
The burden bearers of a stolen land taking a knee,
Hung from a tree is the position that they wishing to see,
I'm Makaveli on his 7th spin around the sun, Cuban lit.... Face bright orange let his spray tan run, 
A Hole in one on a golf course different than a sniper shot,
Garfield, McKinley, Lincoln that JFK Plot,
Making moves,show~n~prove they plan on Instagram, 
The rise of the alt-right white call it their last stand,
The Confederates etiquette' s sneaky, White sheets are now Polo' s, Slacks, and Tiki's,
I mean you niggas don't believe me???, Then Flint Waters from Fiji, 
They Lie on TV label it #FakeNews
It's only meant to confuse promote hate for views, 
So what y'all tryna do cuz conspiracy chicken is winning,
It's evident The President is molesting women,
I spit sick as a Hennessy Venom, 
And yesterday I found a bucket list for John Lennon ( Imagine That) Pow!!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


Vinegar Mother has been one of our faves in the past several months. Why? Songs like Unhappy Family, that’s why. Julia Zivic’s vocals is what makes us ‘feel’, and drives a steak into our soul-hearts.
We didn’t know we had it in us, to be honest.

Anywho, the chorus delivery is the key, and in this song, the proper introduction by Julia and Vinegar Mother is seductive, palpable, poignant, all in a slow danceable, love your significant other, kiss her on her cheek while caressing – goodness.
Their song Slow has been reviewed, but for us, Unhappy Family is what Vinegar Mother is, at the moment, exudes that class. They bring the dramatic stage presence and the worldly apropos, in a specific psychedelic, soul pop-rock band ‘thang’ could bring.

Their crafted songs fit in many ideas and brings just the ‘cool’ each party deserves.
In the tradition of rocking soul singers like Janis Joplin, Bonnie Raitt, and Joss Stone, Vinegar Mother brings the soul and plays with our emotions… and teases. The strength of the vocals, the very important soulfulness & honesty of the vocals, the playfulness of the instruments – all say ‘hi’ at the junction, together – invitingly, lovingly, delightfully.

Oh, and the ‘tease’ bit of the statement is that they have only 5 songs out in their EP ‘The Sunny Seat’, and that’s like just sneaking a peak at one’s beautiful girl, but not being able to hold her or love her. We think that their capabilities and quality of output will be even greater in their next publication.

We can’t wait for their soul-blues-amplification-ass-kickin’ selves to show us ‘another one’. Their awesome careers have just begun.

Kudos Vinegar Mother, kudos.
Oh, they’re not rep’ed yet. So, where are you A&R departments! Get on board!