It’s becoming pretty clear why the Baltimore Ravens didn’t sign Colin Kaepernick last summer.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh sought advice from some “trusted friends” during the 2017 offseason while considering whether to add Kaepernick — at least one of which was a “high-ranking U.S. military official,” TMZ Sports reported Monday.

According to TMZ Sports, the official basically advised Harbaugh not to sign Kaepernick because of the quarterback’s decision to kneel during the national anthem out of protest.

The official told Harbaugh to “seriously consider if Colin’s national anthem demonstration fell in line with the team’s core values,” per TMZ Sports, and while not outright telling Harbaugh to avoid Kaepernick, advised that the coach “give Colin a set of specific guidelines he needed to follow if he wanted to keep his job.”

It’s unclear how much stock Harbaugh put in the official’s advice, but Baltimore decided to go in another direction by signing journeyman QB Thad Lewis, who they later released during final roster cuts. Ex-Raven Ray Lewis later insinuated Kaepernick’s politics played a role in Baltimore not signing him.

Kaepernick couldn’t find work in 2017, a year after he sparked an NFL-wide movement through his protests, and since has accused the league’s owners of collusion in a lawsuit. If Harbaugh and the Ravens really decided not to sign Kaepernick due to his protests, which this latest report suggests, then the 30-year-old free agent might have a compelling case.

Thumbnail photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images