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Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid settle collusion cases with NFL

Kaepernick and Reid filed collusion grievances against the league, saying they were blacklisted because of protests during the national anthem at games.

Then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneels during

Then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneels during the national anthem before a game against the Cowboys, in Santa Clara, Calif., on Oct. 2, 2016 Photo Credit: AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid have settled their collusion cases against the NFL after attorneys for the players and the league announced Friday that the two sides had reached a settlement.

Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback who protested racial injustice and police brutality during the 2016 season by sitting and then kneeling during the national anthem; and Reid, a former 49ers safety who signed last season with the Panthers and recently extended his contract, had claimed that NFL team owners had shunned them because of the protests. Terms of the settlement were confidential.

“For the past several months, counsel for Mr. Kaepernick and Mr. Reid have engaged in an ongoing dialogue with representatives of the NFL,” a joint statement released by attorneys for the players and the league 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.”

Kaepernick has not played since opting out of his contract with the 49ers following the 2016 season. He filed the grievance alleging collusion in October 2017. The NFL last May instituted a ban on players protesting during the anthem, but later abandoned that rule after fierce protests from the players and some disagreement among owners about plans to fine teams whose players protested during the anthem. Jets owner Christopher Johnson told Newsday after the ban had been imposed that he would allow his players to take a knee if they felt it necessary to protest racial injustice.

Reid, who continued to kneel during the anthem after being signed by the Panthers last September, agreed this week to a three-year extension worth up to $24 million.

A full hearing before an arbitrator had been scheduled for later this month. That hearing will no longer be held because of the settlement.

Kaepernick and Reid posted a copy of the statement on their Twitter accounts Friday. The NFL Players Association issued a statement acknowledging the settlement.

“Today, we were informed by the NFL of the settlement of the Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid collusion cases,” the statement read. “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.”

Protests by Kaepernick and several other players during the 2016 season became a topic of national conversation and controversy, with President Donald Trump repeatedly criticizing players who took a knee and suggesting they were denigrating service members and first responders.

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