Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid – who drew controversy for kneeling during the National Anthem when the two were San Francisco 49ers teammates – have settled their collusion grievance cases against the NFL. Both alleged that teams were keeping them from playing.
The league and the players’ attorneys, Mark Geragos and Ben Meiselas, released a joint statement Friday that reads as follows:
“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 is still without a team, while Reid is under contract with the Carolina Panthers.
Kaepernick became a lightning rod in 2016 while with the 49ers when the quarterback refused to stand during the National Anthem, protesting what he believes are racial injustices and ongoing police brutality in the US.
He drew fierce criticism from some by kneeling but also inspired other athletes – from elementary schools to professional leagues – to join his movement. Reid, a safety, began kneeling alongside his teammate that season.
When he was still playing for San Francisco, Kaepernick said he would donate $1 million plus all the proceeds of his jersey sales from the 2016 season to organizations working in oppressed communities. He completed that pledge in 2018.
In March 2017, Kaepernick opted out of his 49ers contract and became a free agent. No NFL team signed him. In October 2017, he filed his grievance case against the NFL, alleging that teams were colluding to deny him a job.
Reid filed his collusion grievance in May. He played five seasons for the 49ers, with his contract ending at the end of the 2017 season. Reid then went unsigned in free agency until he joined Carolina in September, during the 2018 season. He started 13 games for the Panthers, recording 73 tackles, five passes defensed, one interception and one sack.
On Monday, the Panthers announced that Reid re-signed with the team to a three-year contract. He is now under contract with Carolina through the 2021 season.
The NFL Players Association also released a statement, saying it is not privy to the details of the settlement but that it supports 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,” the NFLPA statement said. “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.”