On Feb. 15, Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid ended their collusion grievance against the NFL. For several months, Kaepernick and Reid had ongoing dialogue with representatives of the NFL in the fallout of controversy surrounding the players’ decision to kneel for the pregame national anthem.
“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,” said lawyers of Kaepernick and Reid.
So, who really won the settlement? Both sides were shushed. Active Twitter users believe that this was just another case of the NFL buying out people.
Where does that leave Kaepernick and Reid now? Reid just finished the 2018 NFL season with the Carolina Panthers, notching 50 solo tackles and an interception. On Feb. 11, Reid signed a three-year, $22 million contract extension with the Panthers. The American Alliance of Football (AAF) has called Kaepernick several times about playing in the nascent league, and he has repeatedly denied them.
Let’s take a look back over the past two years that got them to this position.
Here is what Kaepernick said to media in Aug. 2016. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
On August 26, 2016, Kaepernick sat on a bench while his 49ers teammates were standing during the national anthem before a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. After speaking to U.S. Army veteran Nate Boyer, he adjusted his protest to kneeling rather than sitting. Reid, his then-teammate, and many other athletes across many sports started to join in on the protests by kneeling or raising their fists.
The 49ers were plotting on cutting Kaepernick from the team in 2017, but he opted out of his contract before they could make the move. Even as a free agent, not a single NFL team signed him during the 2017 offseason.
The issue quickly enveloped the news cycles, and President Trump took notice.“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, say: “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired,” he said at an Alabama rally in 2017.
President Trump’s comments only inspired more NFL, NBA, and MLB players to kneel. Kaepernick decided to strike back at the NFL by filing a grievance in which he accused owners of blacklisting him in order to keep him out of the league. Approximately two weeks later, Reid filed a collusion grievance against the NFL, claiming he went unsigned during the offseason because of his protests. An arbitrator denied the NFL’s request to dismiss Kaepernick’s complaint, ruling in favor of Kaepernick and moving the case toward a hearing.
Kaepernick has garnered much recognition since he began protesting. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) honored Kaepernick by giving him the Courageous Advocate award. He was a finalist for Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year.” Nike revealed its new advertising campaign with Kaepernick’s slogan, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.” His presence in the ad helped Nike’s online sales grow 31 percent over 48 hours.
His departure from the NFL gave him much more success, publicity, support, and recognition than when he was in the NFL. Despite there being a confidential settlement, Kaepernick’s voice and actions have spoken more than enough.