Rep. Hank Johnson: 'Victim' Colin Kaepernick mistreated by NFL, and Congress should look into it

A Georgia Democratic congressman said that Colin Kaepernick is a “victim” of the NFL because he "exercised his First Amendment right," according to a report.

Rep. Hank Johnson told TMZ Sports that it may be time for the government to step in and act on behalf of the former San Francisco 49ers star.

Kaepernick’s workout over the weekend didn’t appear to move the needle in either direction for the free agent. He threw passes for about 40 minutes at an Atlanta high school. While an NFL executive told ESPN his arm talent was “elite” and that he “threw the ball well,” Kaepernick left the field without a team and still out of the NFL.

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Johnson is curious if the league is abusing the anti-trust exemption to collude to keep players such as Kaepernick from the field. Earlier this year, the NFL paid Kaepernick and former teammate Eric Reid a nearly $10 million settlement over allegations that owners colluded to keep them from playing on a team.

"It's possible that Congress can do something," Johnson told TMZ Sports. "Congress oversees the anti-trust exemption that we gave the NFL. The NFL is doing quite well with that anti-trust exemption, maybe it's time for us to take a fresh look at it."

Johnson wondered if a Congressional investigation is needed to see if the exemption should be revoked; the exemption allows individual teams to work together as a monopoly to negotiate more lucrative broadcasting deals.

Rep. Hank Johnson said that Colin Kaepernick is a “victim” of the NFL because he "exercised his First Amendment right," according to a report. (Congressman Hank Johnson / AP)

Rep. Hank Johnson said that Colin Kaepernick is a “victim” of the NFL because he "exercised his First Amendment right," according to a report. (Congressman Hank Johnson / AP)

He added: "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 (Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I.) to perhaps look at that anti-trust exemption."

Johnson, who represents Georgia's 4th district, has made news over head-turning comments before.

In January, Johnson repeatedly compared President Trump to Adolf Hitler during a fiery speech at a Baptist church in Atlanta.

The Atlanta NAACP posted video online of his speech in which he compared the president to the Nazi leader responsible for the killing of 6 million Jews during World War II.

“Much like how Hitler took over the Nazi party, Trump has taken over the Republican Party,” Johnson said.

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At another point, Johnson said, “Hitler was accepting of violence towards the achievement of political objectives. Trump encouraged violence against protesters at his rallies.”

In 2010, Johnson famously expressed “fear” during a congressional hearing that Guam could "tip over and capsize" because of overpopulation.