According to reports, the NFL and lawyers for Kaepernick and Eric Reid jointly announced that they had settled a complaint of collusion by the players, who claimed that owners blackballed them due to their protest stance.
The question of Colin Kaepernick and collusion has stayed on the minds of the conscientious and disgruntled alike as we all awaited the aftermath of what many considered to be a clear case of dirty dealing by the NFL against Kap, Eric Reid and all others who participated in the player protest against police brutality and oppression in the United States.
Many in the media, current party included, believed that Kap would never see another day on the football field, while legal analysts believed that it would be a hard sell to legally prove that the NFL, despite the contrarian statements by owners, coaches and players across the league, had blackballed him.
Reid, who played last season with the Carolina Panthers, recently signed a three-year deal with the team.
Meanwhile, the Alliance of American Football, co-founded by former ESPN analyst and NFL team president Bill Polian, recently told the media that they offered both Tim Tebow and Colin a chance to come play in the league.
Tebow turned it down because he wanted to focus on playing Major League Baseball, but Kap’s $20 million price tag is just too much for the league to bear at this early stage.
In August 2018, an arbitrator in the hearing of the case ruled that the NFL’s request to dismiss the case on the grounds that Kaep’s legal team didn’t have sufficient evidence to proceed. At that point, some believed the league would eventually settle. But no one foresaw it ending as abruptly as it did.
Though some may not see it as such, the NFL did itself a favor by settling given its recent problems with their public image, which has been constantly besmirched due to the league’s bungling of CTE, domestic violence and opioid abuse issues.
Though the dollar amounts are undisclosed, it had to have costed them big bank to make Kap withdraw his case.
The case was scheduled to go before an arbitrator next month, and the move to settle may mean that league knew it would be difficult to win.
Kaepernick, a former Pro Bowl quarterback with several playoff rushing records, has not played since 2016 and filed suit against team owners in October 2017.
The Story Thus Far
In 2016, Kaepernick was the first of what became multiple NFL players to kneel during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner, to protest a series of shootings of black people by cops. Reid, whose complaint was filed last May, was the second player to begin kneeling.
In a joint statement Friday, the NFL and lawyers for the players, Mark Geragos and Ben Meiselas, said:
“For the past several months, counsel for Mr. Kaepernick and Mr. Reid have engaged in an ongoing dialogue with representatives of the NFL.”
“As a result of those discussions, the parties have decided to resolve the pending grievances. The resolution of this matter is subject to a confidentiality agreement so there will be no further comment by any party.”
Kaepernick and Reid both posted a copy of the statement from their respective Twitter accounts.
The NFL Players Association, the labor union that represents league players, released its own statement on the heels of the announcement of the settlement. There are some reports that the settlement could be worth as much as $80 million.
“Today, we were informed by the NFL of the settlement of the Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid collusion cases. We are not privy to the details of the settlement, but support the decision by the players and their counsel,” the NFLPA said.
“We continuously supported Colin and Eric from the start of their protests, participated with their lawyers throughout their legal proceedings and were prepared to participate in the upcoming trial in pursuit of both truth and justice for what we believe the NFL and its clubs did to them. We are glad that Eric has earned a job and a new contract, and we continue to hope that Colin gets his opportunity as well.”
Does this clear the way for Colin Kaepernick to play in the National Football League next season?
Only time will tell, but this does make it a lot easier for an owner to pull the trigger than had the collision lawsuit still been in effect in the offseason.