Colin Kaepernick has earned both praise and outrage for his bold, silent protest against the killing of unarmed black men.
His protest also ended his NFL career. He has been a free agent since 2016.
He sued the NFL for conspiring to keep him off of the field. And now that lawsuit has been settled.
Attorneys Mark Geragos and Ben Meiselas released a joint statement on Friday, February 15.
“For the past several months, counsel for Mr. Kaepernick and [Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid],” the statement begins.
It continues: “have engaged in an ongoing dialogue with representatives of the NFL.”
“As a result of those discussions,” the statement reads. “The parties have decided to resolve the pending grievances.”
“The resolution of this matter is subject to a confidentiality agreement,” the statement concludes. “So there will be no further comment by any party.”
This settlement is a long time coming.
As you may recall, Kaepernick filed a grievance agains tthe NFL and its owners in late 2017.
He accused them of colluding to keep him off of the field.
Kaepernick became “controversial” in 2016 for peacefully kneeling during the anthem as a form of silent protest.
But though he was protesting the murders of unarmed black men by police, who then go unpunished, some political forces made him a target.
They present him and his protest as anti-American.
He accuses the NFL of responding to this controversy by conspiring to sabotage his career.
Eric Reid was the first to join Kaepernick’s silent protest.
The NFL Player’s Association filed a similar grievance against the NFL in 2018 on Reid’s behalf.
“We continuously supported Colin and Eric from the start of their protests,” the NFLPA said Friday in a statement to ESPN.
The NFLPA “participated with their lawyers throughout their legal proceedings and were prepared to participate in the upcoming trial.”
They did all of this “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,” the statement concludes. “And we continue to hope that Colin gets his opportunity as well.”
Fortunately, Colin Kaepernick’s misfortunes were alleyed.
Nike decided to go all in, placing Kaepernick front and center on their campaign in 2018.
The controversial move had avowed racists throwing away or destroying their Nike shoes.
Just days ago, a store that had removed all Nike products from its shelves closed because of sales losses. Womp womp.
Nike, on the other hand, saw massive sales in 2018.
Their move not only supported Kaepernick when he needed it, but signaled something very affirming.
Ultimately, being progressive was the more profitable move than capitulating to racists. That should be encouragement for all of us.
Kaepernick has been a controversial figure for multiple reasons.
To racists and others in Donald Trump’s base, he was a target because he’s a black man taking a stand for what he believes in.
It’s interesting to note that the people who complain about louder, less convenient protests tend to say “protest like Dr. King would!”
Their attempt to weaponize Dr. Martin Luther King is clearly empty words, since Kaepernick’s protest is as silent and peaceful as a living human can be.
On the Left, Kaepernick was controversial because he did not vote in the 2016 election.
Many find it difficult to imagine how someone could risk (and lose) his career for a political cause, yet refuse to do his civic duty and vote for a better world.
Ultimately, though, Kaepernick is a politically significant and widely loved figure.
And no, it’s not just because he’s really, really, ridiculously good-looking.
It’s also not just because of his skill on the field.
Kaepernick and Reid took a stand against white supremacy, against Trump, and against the NFL, which has been characterized as one of the world’s most predatory businesses.
It is widely assumed that Kaepernick and Reid have made a substantial amount of money in this secret settlement.
If so, good for them.
However, it is unlikely that we will ever see confirmation of how much of a payout they received.