Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has filed a grievance against the NFL, alleging the owners colluded to keep him out of the league because of his protests during the playing of the national anthem before games.
The NFL did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Instead of filing the grievance through the NFL Players Association, Kaepernick has hired attorney Mark Geragos, who has represented several high-profile clients, including Michael Jackson, former NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield and musician Chris Brown.
Geragos said in a statement Sunday night that the grievance was filed "only after pursuing every possible avenue with all NFL teams and their executives."
Kaepernick's goal, he said, was just to be treated fairly and to return to playing football in the NFL, "the league her performed at the highest level for."
The NFL Players Association said in a statement that it had been in contact with Kaepernick for the past year about his options, but only today learned he had decided to file the grievance, through media reports.
"Our union has a duty to assist Mr. Kaepernick as we do all players and we will support him," the statement said, adding that the union is scheduling a call with his advisers for early this week.