Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid agree to resolve their outstanding grievance with the NFL

Controversial free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick has settled his collusion grievance against the NFL, the league and his attorney announced in a statement on Friday. 

Both he and former San Francisco 49ers teammate Eric Reid had filed grievances against the league, accusing all 32 owners of colluding to keep them unsigned in retaliation for protesting inequality and racist police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem. Reid also agreed to settle his grievance with the league on Friday. 

The exact settlements will both remain confidential.  

‘For the past several months, counsel for Mr. Kaepernick and Mr. Reid have engaged in an ongoing dialogue with representatives of the NFL,’ read a joint statement published by the league and the players’ attorney, Mark Geragos. ‘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.’ 

Colin Kaepernick (left) and Eric Reid (right) had both sued the NFL, accusing all 32 owners of colluding to keep the pair unsigned in retaliation for their role in the controversial player protests aimed at fighting racism. However, both players now agree to settle with the NFL 

Colin Kaepernick (left) and Eric Reid (right) had both sued the NFL, accusing all 32 owners of colluding to keep the pair unsigned in retaliation for their role in the controversial player protests aimed at fighting racism. However, both players now agree to settle with the NFL 

Colin Kaepernick (left) and Eric Reid (right) had both sued the NFL, accusing all 32 owners of colluding to keep the pair unsigned in retaliation for their role in the controversial player protests aimed at fighting racism. However, both players now agree to settle with the NFL 

Kaepernick’s original filing claimed the owners ‘have colluded to deprive Mr. Kaepernick of employment rights in retaliation for Mr. Kaepernick’s leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice and his bringing awareness to peculiar institutions still undermining racial equality in the United States.’  

NFL commissioner Roger Goodel, several owners, and at least two NFL executives were deposed and asked to turn over all relevant phone records and emails in relation to Kaepernick’s case against the NFL.   

The protests began with Kaepernick during the 2016 NFL preseason, when he was still a member of the 49ers. 

Other players such as Reid followed with similar demonstrations, which caused a national controversy that ultimately became a major talking point for President Donald Trump beginning in September of 2017. 

COLIN KAEPERNICK’S PROTEST TIMELINE 

  • August 14 and 20, 2016 – Colin Kaepernick remains seated on the bench during the national anthem before two preseason games, but goes unnoticed
  • August 26, 2016 – Kaepernick is noticed sitting during the anthem. Afterwards he tells reporters he was doing so to ‘protest the injustices that are happening in America’
  • September 1, 2016 – After speaking with a U.S. Army veteran, Kaepernick agrees to kneel during the anthem rather than sit, as a sign of respect to military personnel
  • September 22, 2016 – Other players, such as 49ers safety Eric Reid, begin joining in the demonstrations. Some kneel while others sit on the bench or raise a fist during the anthem
  • January 1, 2017 – Kaepernick appears in his last NFL game
  • March 3, 2017 – In anticipation of his imminent release, Kaepernick opts out of his contract with the 49ers so he may begin negotiating with other teams
  • August of 2017 – A new NFL season begins without Kaepernick, but other players continue demonstrating
  • September 22, 2017 – President Donald Trump seizes on the issue, referring to protesting players as ‘sons of b****es’ and demands that the league suspends anyone who refuses to stand for the anthem
  • September 24, 2017 – Over 200 NFL players protest in response to Trump’s attack. Even owners who had condemned the protests, like the Dallas Cowboys’Jerry Jones, locked arms and knelt alongside their players
  • October 8, 2017 – In a move that Trump later claimed was his idea, vice president Mike Pence returned to his home state of Indiana to attend an Indianapolis Colts game, but walked out with his wife after 49ers players knelt during the anthem
  • October 15, 2017 – Kaepernick files his grievance against the NFL
  • November 13, 2017 – GQ Magazine names Kaepernick its ‘Citizen of the Year’
  • December 3, 2017 – The ACLU honors Kaepernick with the Courageous Advocate award
  • August 30, 2018 – An arbitrator rules that Kaepernick’s lawsuit against the NFL can proceed
  • September 3, 2018 – Nike makes Kaepernick the face of its new ‘Just Do It’ campaign, using the tagline, ‘Believe in something, Even if it means sacrificing everything’
  • February 3, 2019 – An #ImWithKap social media campaign takes place during the Super Bowl, with celebrities like LeBron James voicing their support for Kaepernick  
  • February 15, 2019 – Kaepernick agrees to settle his grievance with the NFL for an undisclosed amount, alongside former teammate Eric Reid, who also had an outstanding collusion grievance against the NFL

COLIN KAEPERNICK’S PROTEST TIMELINE 

  • August 14 and 20, 2016 – Colin Kaepernick remains seated on the bench during the national anthem before two preseason games, but goes unnoticed
  • August 26, 2016 – Kaepernick is noticed sitting during the anthem. Afterwards he tells reporters he was doing so to ‘protest the injustices that are happening in America’
  • September 1, 2016 – After speaking with a U.S. Army veteran, Kaepernick agrees to kneel during the anthem rather than sit, as a sign of respect to military personnel
  • September 22, 2016 – Other players, such as 49ers safety Eric Reid, begin joining in the demonstrations. Some kneel while others sit on the bench or raise a fist during the anthem
  • January 1, 2017 – Kaepernick appears in his last NFL game
  • March 3, 2017 – In anticipation of his imminent release, Kaepernick opts out of his contract with the 49ers so he may begin negotiating with other teams
  • August of 2017 – A new NFL season begins without Kaepernick, but other players continue demonstrating
  • September 22, 2017 – President Donald Trump seizes on the issue, referring to protesting players as ‘sons of b****es’ and demands that the league suspends anyone who refuses to stand for the anthem
  • September 24, 2017 – Over 200 NFL players protest in response to Trump’s attack. Even owners who had condemned the protests, like the Dallas Cowboys’Jerry Jones, locked arms and knelt alongside their players
  • October 8, 2017 – In a move that Trump later claimed was his idea, vice president Mike Pence returned to his home state of Indiana to attend an Indianapolis Colts game, but walked out with his wife after 49ers players knelt during the anthem
  • October 15, 2017 – Kaepernick files his grievance against the NFL
  • November 13, 2017 – GQ Magazine names Kaepernick its ‘Citizen of the Year’
  • December 3, 2017 – The ACLU honors Kaepernick with the Courageous Advocate award
  • August 30, 2018 – An arbitrator rules that Kaepernick’s lawsuit against the NFL can proceed
  • September 3, 2018 – Nike makes Kaepernick the face of its new ‘Just Do It’ campaign, using the tagline, ‘Believe in something, Even if it means sacrificing everything’
  • February 3, 2019 – An #ImWithKap social media campaign takes place during the Super Bowl, with celebrities like LeBron James voicing their support for Kaepernick  
  • February 15, 2019 – Kaepernick agrees to settle his grievance with the NFL for an undisclosed amount, alongside former teammate Eric Reid, who also had an outstanding collusion grievance against the NFL

The protests continued into 2018, but fewer players protested this season than in 2016 or 2017. 

Kaepernick has gone unsigned since opting out of his contract in March of 2017. In October of that year he filed the grievance against the league.  

Reid, who was the first player to protest alongside Kaepernick, filed his own grievance after going unsigned last offseason. Eventually the All-Pro defensive back was signed by Carolina four weeks into the season because the Panthers’ secondary was depleted by injuries.

Earlier this week, Reid signed a three-year contract extension worth more than $22 million, which he said was proof that owners were colluding against him last year, when he was ‘still the same player.’

Reid said Monday he believes he got ‘fair market value’ after making just $1.69 million last season from the Panthers.

‘If anything, it proves my point from last year,’ Reid said. ‘I didn’t sign until the (fourth) week and did for almost the league minimum. And this year I signed a more substantial contract. And nothing has changed. I’m still the same player.’

Reid said re-signing with the Panthers was more about the contract than any sense of loyalty to the team that gave him a second chance in the NFL.

‘I don’t see a whole lot of loyalty in this business,’ Reid said. ‘They can cut me at any time. The contract is what made my decision.’

According to Yahoo Sports, the final hearing in the players’ joint collusion case against the NFL was scheduled for later this month. Yahoo added that sources previously said Kaepernick would only withdraw his grievance for a lucrative settlement.

The NFLPA released a statement supporting the resolution.

‘Today, we were informed by the NFL of the settlement of the Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid collusion cases,’ the statement reads. ‘We are not privy to the details of the settlement, but support the decision by the players and their counsel. 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.’

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spoke to reporters ahead of Super Bowl LIII and suggested that teams made their respective decisions about Kaepernick individually.

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‘If a team decides Colin Kaepernick or any other player can help their team win … that’s what they’ll do,’ Goodell said.

‘Our clubs are the ones that make decisions about players they want to have on their roster,’ Goodell continued. ‘They make it individually. They all want to win. They are going to do whatever they need to do to win. That’s our focus. It will continue to be our focus.’

The NFL did not institute any rule requiring players to stand for the anthem during the 2017 season, which resulted in further criticism from President Donald Trump.

In May, the NFL and Goodell changed course and announced a new policy: Players would no longer be required to be on the field during the anthem – a rule that began in 2009 – but anyone on the field of play would be required to stand. Teams could be fined for any personnel not standing, and they would have the right to fine players individually.

Eric Reid has signed a three-year contract worth more than $22 million with the Carolina Panthers, a deal the safety believes is additional proof that NFL owners conspired to keep him out of the league last season

Eric Reid has signed a three-year contract worth more than $22 million with the Carolina Panthers, a deal the safety believes is additional proof that NFL owners conspired to keep him out of the league last season

Eric Reid has signed a three-year contract worth more than $22 million with the Carolina Panthers, a deal the safety believes is additional proof that NFL owners conspired to keep him out of the league last season

However, the league changed course in July and decided to negotiate a resolution with the players association. No final decision has been announced.

In a recent poll conducted by The Athletic, 81 of 85 players said they believe the Kaepernick should be in the NFL. Two players voted ‘no’ and another two replied ‘no comment.’

The question of whether or not he is good enough to play in the NFL has remained a topic of conversation around the league for the last two seasons.

While three players replied that Kaepernick should be a backup, many others believed he could start over such first-string quarterbacks as Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles (20 percent) and Oakland Raiders signal caller Nathan Peterman (18 percent).

Bortles finished the season with a 79.8 quarterback rating while Peterman’s 30.7 mark would have been the NFL’s worst if he had enough games to qualify for the league’s leader board.

‘S***, any team that carries three quarterbacks for sure, the third guy on that roster,’ an anonymous player told The Athletic, explain whom Kaepernick should replace. ‘And a majority of the teams with two quarterbacks, he should be the backup. And some places he should be the starter.’

Not only did Colin Kaepernick lead the 49ers to three consecutive NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl, but his career 88.9 quarterback rating is superior to the marks of several quarterbacks who started over the course of the 2018 season

Not only did Colin Kaepernick lead the 49ers to three consecutive NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl, but his career 88.9 quarterback rating is superior to the marks of several quarterbacks who started over the course of the 2018 season

Not only did Colin Kaepernick lead the 49ers to three consecutive NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl, but his career 88.9 quarterback rating is superior to the marks of several quarterbacks who started over the course of the 2018 season

Kaepernick and Reid's attorney Mark Geragos (pictured) had frequently argued that the embattled free agent quarterback deserved a chance to return to the NFL 

Kaepernick and Reid's attorney Mark Geragos (pictured) had frequently argued that the embattled free agent quarterback deserved a chance to return to the NFL 

Kaepernick and Reid’s attorney Mark Geragos (pictured) had frequently argued that the embattled free agent quarterback deserved a chance to return to the NFL 

In November, Pro Football Talk reported that Kaepernick still wants to play in the NFL and continues to work out 30 hours a week.

Not only did Kaepernick lead the 49ers to three consecutive NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl, but his career 88.9 quarterback rating is superior to the marks of several quarterbacks who started over the course of the 2018 season.

Over his six-year NFL career, Kaepernick completed 59.8 percent of his passes for 12,271 yards, 72 touchdowns and just 30 interceptions. He also ran for 2,300 yards and 13 touchdowns, gaining 6.1 yards per carry.

Previously both Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said they feel as though Kaepernick is good enough to be playing in the NFL, and Rogers went so far as to tell ESPN that he believes the former University of Nevada star remains a free agent because of the protests.

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