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NFL team wants to ban anthem kneeling — now the players union is involved

The NFL Players Association has filed a grievance against the Cincinnati Bengals for asking a free agent about their stance on the national anthem protests. (John Grieshop/Getty Images)

Just days after another player filed a grievance against the NFL claiming he has been blackballed for protests, the NFL Players Association filed a grievance against the Cincinnati Bengals for the way the franchise has approached conduct during the national anthem, according to the Washington Post.

Specifically, the grievance focuses on allegations that the Bengals asked free agent Eric Reid whether he intended to continue protesting next season.

"We believe these questions are improper, given League policy," an NFLPA statement read.

The NFLPA also wants to prevent any team from asking a player about his plans to protest during the national anthem.

What's the story?

Reid is a free agent defensive back and also the first player to join former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem.

Reid, despite being widely considered as a productive player, has not garnered significant interest from teams on the open market. During the only known meeting he's taken this offseason, Reid was reportedly asked if he plans to continue kneeling during the national anthem going forward.

Reid was noncommittal on the issue during the meeting, and the Bengals have not signed him. Bengals owner Mike Brown reportedly plans to prohibit players from protesting during the national anthem next season.

The NFL Players Association alleges that since NFL rules don't ban kneeling during the national anthem, the Bengals were out of line to ask a free agent about it during a meeting.

"According to our information, a club appears to have based its decision not to sign a player based on the player's statement that he would challenge the implementation of a club's policy prohibiting demonstration, which is contrary to League policy," the NFLPA said in its statement.

The Bengals did not comment on the grievance.

Reid's grievance

The NFLPA supported Reid last week when he filed a grievance against NFL owners, claiming that they have colluded to keep him out of the league because of his protests. The two grievances are separate matters.

"Colin [Kaepernick] and Eric have taken courageous action at the expense of their professional careers and personal lives," a statement from the two players' attorneys said. "They did these selfless acts because they wanted to shine light on inequity and oppression. Today they welcome all NFL Players who have joined in the prosecution of the NFL for their conspiracy and illegal acts. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the NFLPA in our fight for justice, equality and inalienable rights of all Americans."

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