USA TODAY Sports photo
USA TODAY Sports photo

Colin Kaepernick won the summary judgment phase of his collusion case against the NFL, moving his grievance closer to a hearing.

The summary judgment phase came specifically at the request of the NFL, which hoped it would lead to Kaepernick's grievance being thrown out. Instead, Yahoo's Charles Robinson reports, the NFL was dealt a "huge blow" Thursday as the ex-49er quarterback's case moves a step closer to trial.

What this victory for Kaepernick and his lawyer, Mark Geragos, essentially means is that the arbitrator determined there's ample evidence to proceed with the case.

Kaepernick's grievance stems from his unemployment the past season-plus over, he claims, the owners colluding to keep him out of the league because of his protesting social inequality and police brutality during the national anthem, beginning in the 2016 season, rather than for football reasons.

Of course, Kaepernick's actions started a massive movement among players protesting peacefully, which spurred the NFL to hastily adopt a new anthem policy in May, then quickly put it on hold once it quickly became apparent that it had rekindled the controversy, not made it go away as the NFL had hoped.

Several NFL owners, decision makers and coaches have been deposed in Kaepernick's case, including the Texans' Bob McNair, Cowboys' Jerry Jones, Broncos GM John Elway and Baltimore's John Harbaugh and Seattle's Pete Carroll, among others.

This is the first known movement in the case in some time. Two weeks ago, Elway told reporters that Kaepernick "had his chance" to sign with the Broncos, who attempted to trade for the then-49ers quarterback two offseasons ago but didn't pursue him after he began protesting. The Broncos, though, then gave Brock Osweiler a second chance, after he spurned them for Houston two years ago, only to return after being cut by Cleveland last season.

Kaepernick, 30, is 28-30 as an NFL starter. He guided the 49ers to Super XLVII following the 2012 season, but his performance tailed off in three consecutive years prior to 2016, when he posted a 90.7 passer rating before he opted out of his deal after the season, his last in the NFL. 49ers GM John Lynch admitted that the club would've cut Kaepernick had he not voided his contract.