Trump has spoken directly with some NFL owners about the protests, according to Yahoo Sports, with sources telling the publication that those conversations and any pressure exerted on the NFL from Trump officials would shape the subpoenas.
Trump has been very vocal both on Twitter and during his rallies that every NFL player should stand during the national anthem and those that do not should be fired.
The league has since enacted a new rule that all NFL personnel on the field must stand during the national anthem and those that don’t will be fined and can face further disciplinary action. Players are allowed to stay off the field during the anthem. Both Trump and Pence championed the new rule, with Pence even tweeting the caption “Winning!” attached to an article about how the new policy is a victory for President Trump.
The grievance states that Trump and Pence “engaged in various public relations stunts designed to retaliate against Mr. Kaepernick and other players that have joined in Kaepernick’s peaceful protest” and calls Trump “an organizing force in the collusion among team owners in their conduct towards” Kaepernick.
Trump has continued his attack against protesting players, recently disinviting the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles from visiting the White House, instead of holding a brief “Celebration of America” event.
Though Trump said he was disinviting the team because of their disagreement on the protest, no Eagles kneeled during the anthem over the past season, but less than ten players were reportedly set to visit the White House while the rest of the team planned to boycott.
Trump, Pence, and others have continued to make Kaepernick’s protest about disrespecting the troops but it’s important to note why it was originally started. Kaepernick originally sat during the anthem to protest against racism, oppression, inequality, and police brutality against black people. It was a former Seahawks player and veteran, former U.S. Army Green Beret Nate Boyer who told Kaepernick it was more appropriate to take a knee.