The long legal battle between the NFL and Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid ended today with a settlement. Kaepernick is the former San Francisco quarterback who ignited a firestorm of controversy in 2016 when he began sitting and kneeling during the national anthem.
Teammate Eric Reid quickly joined his protest of racial inequality and police brutality, and additional NFL players knelt, too. Both men filed collusion grievances against the NFL, resulting in many months of depositions. Media sentiment has overwhelming favored the social justice warriors and accused the NFL of blackballing them.
Kaepernick has been an unsigned free agent since severing his contract with the San Francisco 49ers in March 2017. Reid played for the 49ers from 2013-2017, and was a free agent until the fourth week of the 2018 season when Carolina signed him. He recently signed a three-year, $22 million contract extension with the Panthers. The NFL and the attorney for Reid and Kaepernick, Mark Geragos, who previously represented Michael Jackson and Scott Peterson among other high profile clients, released this announcement via Twitter:
"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."
In a tersely worded USA Today sports editorial, Nancy Armour, slammed the NFL, writing its "vaguely worded press release, conveniently dropped on a Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend, isn’t going to cut it.'':
"The NFL no doubt hopes that its announcement Friday of a settlement with Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid in their collusion lawsuits will bring an end to this whole sordid mess. That the deal will help them win back the fans – to say nothing of potential acts for next year’s Super Bowl halftime show – who are incensed that the league effectively blackballed Kaepernick for taking a stand against the racial and economic discrimination that plagues our society.
"Good luck with that. So long as Kaepernick is without a job, the NFL is going to stay on the hook for this disgrace. So long as teams try to claim with straight faces that Nathan Peterman, C.J. Beathard, Mark Sanchez or any other less-talented retread is a 'better fit' than Kaepernick, the NFL will never overcome its cowardice."
Just one of several USA Today Kaepernick cheerleaders, Armour believes the NFL saw itself in a no-win position. She referred to the party scene at the recent Super Bowl when some big-name entertainers refused to perform in the halftime show out of support for Kaepernick as "one big troll of the NFL." Furthermore, she writes, "The league was ridiculed for having the audacity to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. while actively silencing another advocate of peaceful protest."
Details of the months-long depositions of NFL and team officials were supposed to be confidential, but Armour asserts details unflattering to the NFL leaked out and the league had to know things would only get worse. Thus the settlement, in her reasoning.
Speaking of the Super Bowl, the timing of this settlement likely was delayed until after the NFL championship game to prevent the collusion controversy from stealing the headlines from that mega-sporting event.
With sports media solidly in Kaepernick's corner since the beginning of his protests two and a half years ago, the number of media expressing impartiality or support for the NFL has been miniscule. The settlement announcement came early this afternoon, and several high-profile sports commentators had not yet reacted to the story. The story will likely dominate the sports news cycle for days to come.