Colin Kaepernick and teammates Eli Herald and Eric Reid kneeling during the national anthem
Eli Harold #58, Colin Kaepernick #7 and Eric Reid #35 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel in protest on the sideline, during the anthem, prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on October 16, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York. The Bills defeated the 49ers 45-16. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Business Archive

Kaepernick, NFL settle collusion case

Eli Harold (left), Colin Kaepernick (center) and Eric Reid (right) of the San Francisco 49ers kneel in protest on the sideline, during the anthem in 2016. Kaepernick and Reid reached a settlement with the NFL over their collusion case.  (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

More than a year after filing a collusion case against the NFL, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has settled with the NFL.

Colin Kaepernick sparked a global debate on social injustice and became a political lightning rod for kneeling during the national anthem. The settlement brings to an end his collusion case against the NFL.

Kaepernick filed a grievance on Oct. 16, 2017 alleging the league and teams were in violation of the anti-collusion clause of the collective bargaining agreement.

Kaepernick last played in an NFL game on Jan. 1, 2017 in the final regular season game of the 2016 NFL season. The 2016 season is also when he started kneeling to protest social injustice against the African-American community.

The reactions to Kaepernick’s kneeling were mixed with some people supporting them and others suggesting his kneeling was disrespecting America and the flag.

President Donald Trump was openly against kneeling during the national anthem, speaking out openly on the matter and tweeting several things about the topic overall.

"If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem," Trump wrote. "If not, YOU'RE FIRED. Find something else to do!"

Only a few weeks after Trump’s response and not being signed to an NFL roster Kaepernick filed his grievance.

Despite a 28-30 record as a starting quarterback, a 4-2 record in the postseason and a Super Bowl XLVII appearance, Kaepernick remained unsigned even after several starting quarterbacks were injured.

The NFL Players Association released a statement that said: "Today, we were informed by the NFL of the settlement of the  collusion cases. 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, and we continue to hope that Colin gets his opportunity as well."

The NFL also settled a collusion grievance with safety Eric Reid, who is a former 49ers teammate of Kaepernick. Reid did not play the first three games of the 2018 season before getting signed by the Carolina Panthers. He recently signed a three-year deal for $22 million with the Panthers.

The settlement terms were not disclosed. Kaepernick’s lawyer Mark Geragos said the terms of the settlement will not be discussed due to a confidentiality agreement signed by both players and the NFL.



Lamar Smith is a masters sports journalism student at Arizona State University

Related Articles

After initial fury, Nike's Colin Kaepernick ad 'well received'

Yale sociologist: Colin Kaepernick, Lebron James important role models 

Extending Kaepernick bold, controversial move by Nike

New poll: Majority of Americans support athletes’ right to take a knee

Protesting athletes may have a case under First Amendment

Athlete activism is on the rise, but so is the backlash

Adidas exec on the future of sport, society and Kaepernick