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Kaep Wins: The N.F.L. Settles Collusion Case

Updated: Mar 29, 2019

by David Neff

Too often the voice of activism and freedom of expression is shut down by corporations avoiding negative attention but, for once against the juggernaut of the N.F.L., a prolific voice for activism has won in a settlement against the N.F.L.  Former quarterback Colin Kaepernick became the face of protesting police shootings of black men by kneeling during “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the 2016 season.  By doing so, Kap was harshly criticized by people believing his protest was anti-American, which it isn’t, going so far as to draw the ire of President Trump.  Some fans boycotted games and some boycotted the N.F.L., by representing a blacklist for Mr. Kaepernick for his leadership in this movement.

Yet, two and a half years later, Kaepernick and former teammate, Eric Reid, who recently signed an extension with the Carolina Panthers, have reached a legal settlement that came out of nowhere.  In this agreement, it is believed that a settled amount between 60 and 80 million dollars was awarded to Kaepernick.  Along with this a confidentiality agreement is inputted where it will be left in silence and curious to see if the league admitted to colluding with the owners to not hire Colin Kaepernick.

Let’s make this very clear, while the league may not have to admit anything, paying 60 to 80 million dollars is a huge sum to not admit fault.  Along with this, Kaepernick has signed with Nike to an endorsement deal even though he hasn’t played a down of football in three years and has largely remained silent, which is strange for what a brand wants from an endorser. When the case wasn’t thrown out in August of 2018, it meant that each of the owners would have to publicly say why a player of Kaepernick’s level could not be signed.  Some of this is likely due to the league’s collective bargaining agreement expiring in two years and not to take away from either the negotiations or to add fuel to the fire for the players. Some may have been from previous embarrassing statements that owners have said such as, recently deceased Texans owner Bob McNair, claiming to not let have the “inmates run the prison”.

One thing is clear though, Kaepernick emerges as a clear victor in all of this regardless of how polarizing he is.  Clearly his impact has helped Nike fuel it sells, artist to not perform at the NFL Halftime Show, and players are getting paid handsomely.  The NFL, still the world’s most lucrative sports league, foundation has been weakened over the years from the concussion settlement and now this.  If the plans to expand further than US markets were in place, evident by games in Mexico City and London, the league needs to mature itself and recognize that constant bad calls, weak matchups, and protests are not attracting new fans.

The conversation for racial inequality wasn’t supposed to happen from this and yet everyone can’t stop talking about it because of Kaepernick’s decision to take a knee. Now? He’s become even popular by representing what he believed. The NFL can learn a lesson here from all of their posturing because now their current position is on their hands and knees.