Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick legal case against the NFL took a strange turn Tuesday, as Kaepernick’s legal team reportedly requested a deposition from former Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter. NFL reporter Jason La Canfora broke the news in a series of Tweets Tuesday afternoon.

 

Kaepernick sued the NFL back in October 2017 for alleged collusion to keep him out of the league after his visible protests against racial discrimination and police brutality rocked the football world in 2016. As more and more players began to kneel during the pre-game national anthem performance last season, Schnatter claimed the protests were hurting Papa John’s pizza sales. He later apologized and stepped down as CEO of the company after widespread backlash.

According to La Canfora’s report, Kaepernick’s representation thinks there may have been a link between Schnatter’s remarks and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who rather bluntly rejected the idea of ever signing Kaepernick. Jones and Schnatter are business partners, with the former supporting the latter during the aforementioned controversy.

La Canfora’s tweets came in the wake of a Yahoo! Sports report regarding several other people who Kaepernick’s team requested for depositions. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and his wife Jane are on the list with several NFL owners, executives and coaches, including Jones, Pete Carroll and Ozzie Newsome.

The idea is to find some proof that multiple influential figures in the NFL deliberately worked together to keep Kaepernick out of the league. After a dazzling season-and-a-half that included a narrow Super Bowl loss, Kaepernick’s star faded as injuries mounted and the talent around him in San Francisco dissipated. He once suffered the ultimate indignity of being benched for Blaine Gabbert.

However, Kaepernick finished strong for San Francisco in 2016, throwing 16 touchdowns to only four interceptions on an otherwise hapless team. The quality of his play that season prompted many to believe the NFL was blackballing him, as some quarterbacks who were perceived to be worse or less accomplish were signed as backups or starters in the following offseason.

GettyImages-160620103 Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers scores a 15-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter against Ed Reed #20 of the Baltimore Ravens during Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images