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San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams

Source: Sean M. Haffey / Getty

An arbitrator is sending grievance with the NFL to trial, denying the league’s request to throw out the quarterback’s claims that owners conspired to keep him out of the league because of his protests of social injustice.

Kaepernick’s lawyer Mark Geragos tweeted a picture Thursday of a ruling by arbitrator Stephen B. Burbank.

The former 49ers quarterback argues that owners have colluded to keep him off any NFL roster since he hit free agency in 2017.

Kaepernick began a wave of protests by NFL players two seasons ago, kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality. The protests have grown into one of the most polarizing issues in sports, with President Donald Trump loudly urging the league to suspend or fire players who demonstrate during the anthem.

Kaepernick filed a grievance last fall against the NFL alleging that the league made a coordinated effort to keep him out of the league following the 2016 season. During Kaepernick’s last season in the league, following two full seasons as the San Francisco 49ers starter, the then-28-year-old quarterback started 11 games after starting the season on the bench, before vanishing from the league altogether. This upcoming season will be his second out of the league.

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