From [HERE] In a stunning decision, quarterback Colin Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid have reached a financial settlement with the NFL in their joint collusion complaint against the league and will take no further action in the case. While sources declined to offer specifics for the decision, Yahoo Sports was told on prior occasions that Kaepernick and Reid would only settle the complaint if a lucrative financial agreement was reached between the players and the NFL.
The league and Kaepernick’s attorneys released a statement Friday saying the matter had been resolved confidentially. As part of that confidentiality, it is believed both sides signed a non-disclosure agreement agreeing not to speak publicly about details of the case or settlement.
On October 15, 2017, Kaepernick filed a grievance with the NFL Players Association (“NFLPA”), alleging that the all thirty-two NFL teams and their owners colluded against him in retaliation for his demonstration during the national anthem the previous year. Collusion at its core is collective action that restricts competition. Under federal law, particularly the Sherman Anti-Trust Act (the “Sherman Act”), collusion is prohibited; however, because of labor exemptions, what constitutes collusive, prohibited behavior in specific sports leagues varies based on the league’s negotiated collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”).
Articles 15 and 17 of the National Football League (―NFL‖) Collective Bargaining Agreement (―CBA‖). CBA Article 17, Section 1 states:
“No club, its employees or agents shall enter into any agreement, express or implied, with the NFL, or any other Club, its employees, or agents to restrict or limit individual Club decision making as follows: (i) whether to negotiate or not to negotiate with any player; . . . (iii) whether to offer or not to offer a Player Contract to any player; . . . or (v) concerning the terms or conditions of employment offered to any player for inclusion, or included in, a Player Contract.
According to the grievance complaint:
During the 2017 NFL season and continuing to the present, the NFL, by and through all NFL team owners, NFL employees, and team employees, have entered into and enforced, implied and/or express agreements to specifically deprive Claimant Colin Kaepernick from employment in the NFL, as well as from practicing with and/or trying out for NFL teams for which Mr. Kaepernick is eminently qualified. Respondents NFL and NFL Team Owners have colluded to deprive Mr. Kaepernick of employment rights in retaliation for Mr. Kaepernick’s leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice and his bringing awareness to peculiar institutions still undermining racial equality in the United States. Further, Respondents have retaliated against Mr. Kaepernick in response to coercion and calculated coordination from the Executive Branch of the United States government. Colin Kaepernick demands the prompt selection of a System Arbitrator pursuant to Article 15 of the CBA, expedited discovery including depositions and document production pursuant to Article 15, and a prompt Article 17 enforcement proceeding.“
The league possesses both the resources for interminable court battles and the ego to never admit a mistake. The NFL spent millions and millions fighting Tom Brady over the inflation levels of a football. It spent millions and millions fighting the legalization of sports wagering, all the way to the Supreme Court. (Then when the league lost, it immediately cashed in, of course.) Nevertheless, against Kap and his claim that teams colluded against him, however … the NFL quit. [MORE]
“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 said. “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.”
The agreement comes on the doorstep of the final hearing in the Kaepernick case, which was set to take place before arbitrator Stephen Burbank this month. Kaepernick had alleged the league conspired to keep him out after he began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016. Multiple NFL players adopted Kaepernick’s protest in 2017, hoping to draw attention to social justice and racial inequality issues. The actions sparked a political firestorm from President Donald Trump and the furor became such a central issue for the league for nearly one year that it instituted a rule that banned protests during the national anthem. That rule has since been shelved by the NFL and now appears to be dead, for all intents and purposes.
The NFLPA also released a statement Friday, supporting the settlement between the league and players.
“Today, we were informed by the NFL of the settlement of the Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid collusion cases,” the NFLPA said. “We are not privy to the details of the settlement, but support 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. We are glad that Eric has earned a job and a new contract [from the Carolina Panthers], and we continue to hope that Colin gets his opportunity as well.”