Colin Kaepernick reaches settlement in National Anthem kneeling collusion case against NFL

 cnbc.com  02/15/2019 19:06:23  2  Dan Mangan
From left, San Francisco 49ers Eli Harold (58), quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) and Eric Reid (35) kneel during the national anthem before their NFL game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
Nhat V. Meyer | Tribune News Service | Getty Images
From left, San Francisco 49ers Eli Harold (58), quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) and Eric Reid (35) kneel during the national anthem before their NFL game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

The NFL and lawyers for players Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid jointly announced Friday that they had settled a complaint of collusion by the players, who claimed football team owners blackballed them because they had protested racial injustice and police brutality by kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem before games.

Terms of the settlement were confidential.

Before the deal was reached, Kaepernick's and Reid's complaint alleging violations of the league's collective bargaining agreement was headed to a full hearing before an arbitrator later this month.

Kaepernick, a former star quarterback with the San Francisco 49ers, has not played since becoming a free agent after the 2016 season. He filed a grievance alleging collusion by team owners in October 2017.

Reid, a former 49ers safety, was signed by the Carolina Panthers in September, only after he had filed his own grievance against the National Football League. He continued to kneel during the the 2018 season.

Kapernick in 2016 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.

The protests drew the ire of some fans and of President Donald Trump, who claimed players were being disrespectful to the American flag and members of the military.

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.

"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."

After the National Anthem kneeling protests began, the NFL implemented a rule that for almost a year banned the act. But that rule was later revoked.

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