The NFL settled its case with Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid on Friday, according to a statement issued by Kaepernick and Reid’s attorney, Mark Geragos, and the NFL.
“For the past several months, counsel for Mr. Kaepernick and Mr. Reid have engaged in an ongoing dialogue with representatives of the NFL,” the statement read. “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.”
You probably have questions about this settlement, and what it means. Let’s break it down.
What were Kaepernick and Reid alleging?
Both Kaepernick and Reid filed collusion grievances against the NFL in which they argued team owners violated the terms of the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the NFL Players Association.
Their argument was that NFL teams had banded together to ensure that neither Kaepernick nor Reid were signed to a franchise because of their protests against police violence and racial inequality during the playing of the national anthem before games.
The two filed separate collusion grievances, but were both represented by Geragos.
Did Reid and Kaepernick’s argument have merit?
It’s hard to say definitively. Both Kaepernick and Reid would not only have to argue that both were good enough to be in the NFL, but that NFL owners had actively colluded to ensure that neither of them played in the league.
When it comes to if they were good enough to be in the league, people will argue it both ways, but Kaepernick was coming off an age-29 season in which he completed nearly 60 percent of his passes and threw 16 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. An NFL team reportedly reached out to 43-year-old Matt Hasselback, who has been retired for four years, about playing this year.
Reid eventually signed with the Carolina Panthers this season and recorded 71 tackles and an interception in 13 games as a starter, and just signed a new contract, which one would think would prove that he was and remains talented enough to play in the NFL.
As for if the NFL owners actively colluded to prevent them from signing, that would be much harder to prove.
What does the case settling mean?
This is impossible to know. Some people will argue that by settling, and doing so before discovery – which would allow the players’ lawyers to obtain information from the NFL and vice versa – the NFL is admitting defeat and knew it had no chance in the case brought by Reid and Kaepernick.
Others will say that the two sides just reached an agreement and wanted to move past it. Because it’s confidential, any answers to this question will be, and remain, speculative.
Will we ever learn the terms of the settlement, or why both sides settled?
Unless someone violates the confidentiality agreement that came as part of the settlement, probably not. People will guess that the NFL paid both Kaepernick and Reid to settle before this went any farther, but that again would be speculation.
The terms of the settlement mean that both sides are (reasonably) happy, one would think, and it’s hard to imagine that either side would want to jeopardize the deal by speaking out publicly.