Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his ex-teammate Eric Reid, now a safety for the Carolina Panthers, have received a big payday from the NFL in response to their recent collusion grievances.
The two players reached settlements with the NFL, as ESPN and other outlets are reporting.
The men argued NFL owners violated the league’s collective bargaining agreement when the two players went unsigned — because they started kneeling for the national anthem as members of the San Francisco 49ers in 2016.
“For the past several months, counsel for Mr. Kaepernick and Mr. Reid have engaged in an ongoing dialogue with representatives of the NFL,” the players’ attorney Mark Geragos and the NFL said a joint statement issued Friday.
“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 was not signed following the 2016 NFL season when he became a free agent. Still under contract, Reid played the 2017 NFL season but went unsigned until late September last year; teams opted to sign other defensive backs before him.
As of Friday afternoon, the exact figure each player received was yet to be announced publicly.
However, Kaepernick’s settlement is reportedly somewhere in the $60 million to $80 million range, according to Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report.
Number NFL team officials are speculating to me is the NFL paid Kaepernick in the $60 to $80 million range.
— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) February 15, 2019
Although they’re receiving financial compensation, the players’ actions during the playing of the national anthem hurt the NFL’s profit margins a few years before this settlement.
During the 2016 and 2017 NFL seasons, the league’s TV ratings dropped by more than 17 percentage points.
The main reason for this, according to a JD Power Poll conducted in July 2017, was the national anthem controversy.
In Kaepernick’s case, the problems go beyond the kneeling. During the 2016 season, he wore a Fidel Castro T-shirt and socks depicting police officers as pigs.
In 2017, he donated $25,000 to an organization honoring domestic terrorist and cop killer Assata Shakur; and he was photographed smiling with controversial Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour, a supporter of Louis Farrakhan.
Kaepernick would not come cheap to an NFL team anyway. Several outlets, including Sporting News, reported that Kaepernick sought a contract worth $20 million to play in the Alliance of American Football. And in 2017, CBS Sports reported that Kaepernick wanted to make some $10 million per season to play in the NFL.
Kaepernick made the demand even though he went 1-10 as a starter for the 49ers in 2016. His QBR ranking was 23rd among 30 qualified NFL quarterbacks; and he fumbled nine times in 11 games.
Although Reid received a settlement, his NFL career will continue — as will his kneeling for the national anthem.
This past Monday, he signed a three-year extension with the Panthers worth around $22 million, as Sport Illustrated and other outlets reported.
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Tom Joyce is a freelance writer from the South Shore of Massachusetts. He covers sports, pop culture, and politics and has contributed to The Federalist, Newsday, and other outlets.