Colin Kaepernick Reaches Agreement With NFL
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick has settled his collusion case against the National Football League. His former teammate, Eric Erid, has also settled his case. The two players sued the NFL, alleging teams conspired not to hire them as retaliation for kneeling during the national anthem. They had kneeled as a way to protest racial injustice and police brutality. With us now is NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman. Hi, Tom.
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Mary Louise.
KELLY: So what details do we know about exactly how they have settled their cases?
GOLDMAN: We know nothing.
KELLY: Short interview then, thanks so much.
GOLDMAN: Let's move on. No. We got three sentences in a joint statement by the NFL and the attorneys for Kaepernick and Reid saying they have resolved the pending grievances. And that's it. Because of a confidentiality agreement, they are not saying anything more, which is a bit frustrating, you know, considering how this case this whole issue has roiled the country.
I mean, let's remember how Kaepernick and his actions and Reid and the other players who followed created great upset throughout the country. The president weighed in a number of times. The vice president walked out of a game during the anthem where there were protests happening. The playing of the national anthem became must-see TV. But today, Mary Louise, we are left with three sentences.
KELLY: Three sentences from the people directly involved, but being a dogged reporter, I'm sure you're nosing around and trying to find what everybody else is saying. So what is everybody else saying about this?
GOLDMAN: You betcha. The NFL Players Union, in a statement, says it's not privy to the details of the settlement either. But it says it's glad that Eric Reid has earned a job and a new contract. And the union continues to hope that Kaepernick gets his opportunity as well. Eric Reid signed last year with the Carolina Panthers, and just recently he wrapped with a very lucrative new three-year deal.
We got maybe a little insight into the settlement from Yahoo Sports. It said it was told on prior occasions that Kaepernick and Reid would only settle if a lucrative financial agreement was reached between the players and the NFL. And columnist Mike Freeman tweeted today he's hearing from team officials that the NFL paid Kaepernick in the 60 to $80 million range.
And then I talked to University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias, who's followed this case closely. He says Kaepernick and Reid are vindicated in that they're recovering something - the money. And Tobias says they're also vindicated in that a settlement shows the NFL was unwilling to let the case proceed. In August of last year, an arbitrator ruled the case could go forward. He rejected the NFL's attempts to have the case dismissed. That gave the players some leverage, although the collusion is tough to prove, and it wasn't guaranteed the players would win.
KELLY: All right. So we shall watch for details of this settlement and also, as you said, for what Colin Kaepernick may do next beyond being face of Nike. I was just looking. He's 31 years old, so by Tom Brady standards, he could have a decade of play left in him. Who knows?
GOLDMAN: Yeah, could be.
KELLY: NPR's Tom Goldman. Thanks very much.
GOLDMAN: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.