NFL to settle collusion case with Colin Kaepernick
According to the New York Times, quarterback Colin Kaepernick will be settling his collusion case with the NFL for blackballing him after his famed national anthem protests. During the 2016 season, Kaepernick invited vigorous debate around the issues of race, policing, and even workplace standards. Owners were forced to react to players around the league joining Kapernick’s protest, and some of them were rumored to have issued kneel and be fired policies. Kaepernick and his fellow NFL players who either knelt or raised a fist during the anthem even incurred the wrath of Donald Trump, who infamously referred to them as “sons of bitches.” The league is prepared to settle with both Kaepernick and Eric Reid, the two players who formally filed grievance claims against the league.
In a joint statement released by the NFL and the two men’s lawyers on Friday, both parties said that they “have decided to resolve the pending grievances” and “there will be no further comment.” Presumably, this means that the NFL is going to pay these men and pay them well, and there is a confidentiality agreement so that the public cannot know the official extent of collusion.
NBA superstar LeBron James was asked about the case at NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte, and his response to journalists was simple: “I stand with Kap. I kneel with Kap. I feel like what he was talking about nobody wanted to listen to. Nobody wanted to really understand where he was coming from.” James also supported Nike, with whom he has a lifetime endorsement deal, when it featured Kaepernick heavily in its rebranded “Just Do It” campaign.
“I stand with Kap. I kneel with Kap. I feel like what he was talking about nobody wanted to listen to. Nobody wanted to really understand where he was coming from.” pic.twitter.com/TUjpgK8JHj
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) February 16, 2019
During the recent Super Bowl, Kaepernick shared pictures of celebrities and activists wearing jerseys in protest of the NFL, pledging not to watch. Whether because of those protests, that TV audience numbers across the board have trended downward, or that the game was generally regarded as a snoozefest, viewership of the Super Bowl, typically one of the most watched programs of the year, was down. In fact, over the last two years, NFL viewership in general has been down, coinciding with Kaepernick’s protest.
Michael McCambridge, author of the book America’s Game: The Epic Story of How Football Captured a Nation told the New York Times, “The most important thing is (Kaepernick) started a really important conversation that we’ve been having for a couple of years, and the people who were willing to have that conversation have learned some things… I suspect even if Kaepernick knew how long it would take he might have done it differently. But he took a social stand and he was willing to suffer the consequences of that.”