A powerful U.S. congressman is furious with the way the NFL is treating Colin Kaepernick -- and tells TMZ Sports the government may finally have to act against the league.
Rep. Hank Johnson (Democrat from Georgia's DeKalb County) says he believes Kaepernick is the "victim" ... because the NFL orchestrated a league-wide ban on the QB because he "exercised his 1st Amendment right."
So, what can Congress do about it?
"It's possible that Congress can do something," Johnson says ... "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."
The anti-trust exemption is the law President Kennedy signed back in the day which allows the individual teams to work together as a monopoly to negotiate more lucrative broadcasting deals.
In other words, the NFL is in a much stronger negotiating position with the teams united -- instead of having to negotiate 32 individual broadcasting deals.
If the exemption was revoked, experts say it would cost the league billions of dollars.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."
FYI, Rep. Johnson serves on the House Judiciary Committee, one of the most powerful committees in Congress.
Rep. Johnson is essentially telling us if the league is abusing the anti-trust exemption to collude to keep players like Colin out of the league, Congress should investigate to decide if the exemption should be revoked.
It's a pretty aggressive threat that's sure to get the NFL's attention.