Whatever the lawyers suing the league found, it must have been damning:
To put it simply, professional sports leagues do not capitulate to grievances against players unless something forces them to. Generally, it’s either the rule of law, or the fear that not settling a case would unleash damning evidence that would be far more harmful to the league than said capitulation.
Which makes the Friday news that the NFL and Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid have settled the outstanding collusion grievances against the league by the two players entirely remarkable.
This was the joint statement, issued by NFL Communications:
For the past several months, counsel for Mr. Kaepernick and Mr. Reid have engaged in an ongoing dialogue with representatives of the NFL. 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 and Reid had filed collusion grievances against the NFL after they felt that their protests on social justice issues made them unemployable. Kaepernick hasn’t played since the 2016 season. Reid was signed by the Panthers last September, and then signed a three-year contract extension in early February. Kaepernick has had a handful of tryouts, but no team has signed him. In his last season, Kaepernick threw 16 touchdowns to four interceptions for a 49ers roster so barren, Jeremy Kerley was his top receiver.
And given the churn at the quarterback position over the following two seasons—churn that has seen such washouts as Nathan Peterman, Mark Sanchez, Blake Bortles, Cody Kessler, Trevor Siemian, and Brock Osweiler see starting time at the position, it stands to reason that Mark Geragos, the attorney handling the Kaepernick and Reid cases, found quite a bit of juice when he went to the mattresses to get discovery on any communications in which it may have been stated by NFL decision-makers that Kaepernick was poison to the league for factors having nothing to do with on-field performance.
According to Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman, several people high-up in the league estimate that the settlement amount for Kaepernick could be in the range of $60-$80 million dollars.
Again: Leagues do not capitulate like this unless the evidence against them is so graphically obvious, the alternative to settling is far worse than any other option. And as Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson points out, this settlement comes before final arguments were to be made in the Kaepernick and Reid collusion cases before arbitrator Stephen Burbank later this month. So, for the NFL to settle, the NFL had to know that the evidence against it was irrevocable.
Jason Reid has more.