ATLANTA - A Democratic congressman from Georgia says the government may have to examine the NFL's anti-trust exemption after their treatment of former quarterback and civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick, TMZ reports.
Speaking to TMZ Sports. Rep. Hank Johnson said that the football league "needed to lift his unofficial suspension and let him back into the league."
Describing Kaepernick as a "victim," Johnson said that he believed the NFL instituted a "league-wide ban" on signing the quarterback "because he exercised his 1st Amendment right."
Johnson, who serves on the House Judiciary Committee, said that Congress could possibly "take a fresh look" at the NFL's anti-trust exemption, which was signed by President John F. Kennedy. If revoked, TMZ says could cost the league billions of dollars.
"Maybe [the NFL feels] a little heat about their anti-trust exemption and the fact that the Judiciary Committee stands ready under the leadership of the chair of the anti-trust subcommittee David Cicilline to perhaps look at that anti-trust exemption," Johnson said.
Kaepernick recently staged his own impromptu workout at a Riverdale high school after agreeing to a planned workout at the Atlanta Falcon's training facility in Flowery Branch. At that workout, he told reporters that he’s ready to play in the NFL just as long as someone gives him a chance.
“I’ve been ready for three years,” he said. “I’ve been denied for three years. We all know why. I came out here today and showed it in front of everybody. We have nothing to hide. We’re waiting for the 32 owners, the 32 teams, Roger Goodell, all of them to stop running, stop running from the truth, stop running from the people.”
In a statement, the NFL said it was “disappointed that Colin did not appear for his workout” and referenced recent negotiations with Kaepernick’s representatives over the workout.