Colin Kaepernick accuses NFL team owners of collusion in a grievance filed Sunday (Oct. 15) alleging a violation of the league’s collective bargaining agreement. The former 49ers player claims owners are working together to “specifically deprive” him from getting hired by a team since becoming a free agent earlier in the year.

Kaepernick says the act is deliberate retaliation over his national anthem protest and advocation for “equality in the United States.”

The documents state that during the “2017 NFL season and continuing to the present, the NFL, by and through all NFL team owners, NFL employees and team employees, have entered into and enforced, implied and/or expressed agreement to specifically deprive” Kaepernick from being employed by the NFL, “as well as from practicing with and/or trying out for NFL teams for which Mr. Kaepernick is eminently qualified.”

During the 2016 season, Kaepernick “opted not to stand” during the anthem in an attempt to “raise awareness of racial inequality and minority oppression in the United States through a silent and peaceful protest of a nation that was not living up to its ideals of freedom and equality guarantees to all citizens,” the paperwork adds.

The claim goes on to point out that it’s not mandatory for NFL players to stand during the anthem.

Kapernick has hired lawyer Mark Geragos, who released a statement explaining that the legal action was taken “after pursuing every possible avenue with all NFL teams and their executives.”

Geragos also asserts that NFL owners recently imitated Kaepernick’s protest after Donald Trump’s comments on players exercising their right to protest, but continue to blacklist him from the league.

“Colin Kaepernick’s goal has always been, and remains, to simply be treated fairly by the league he performed at the highest level for and to return to the football playing field.”