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Report: The NFL may have gotten off cheap in its settlement with Colin Kaepernick

The Wall Street Journal says the league paid out less than $10 million over two grievances

Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

The National Football League paid less than $10 million total to settle grievances filed by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid — a figure far less than what Kaepernick would have likely received on his own, had he prevailed in his grievance and not accepted a lesser payout, the Wall Street Journal reported.

What are the details?

Kaepernick and Reid claimed the league's teams colluded and refused to hire them after the two led kneeling protests while the national anthem played before games starting in 2016. Their demonstration against police brutality and racial inequality spread throughout the league, sparking a national debate over patriotism and free speech.

Kaepernick became the face of the movement and went unsigned by a team for the past two years. He filed his grievance in 2017, and Reid filed his in 2018. Kaepernick profited by receiving a major endorsement by Nike last year, but still hasn't been back on the football field. Reid was signed by the Carolina Panthers shortly after launching his complaint.

In February, the two players and the NFL came to a confidential agreement to settle the grievances. Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman said league officials speculated the payout would be somewhere around $60 to $80 million. The Journal said Thursday that Kaepernick's market value alone could have earned him $90 million if his grievance had made it to court and he won.

But an unnamed source told the Journal the settlement amount was a mere fraction of those figures, at $10 million divided between the two players.

Anything else?

While the league's collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association union would have entitled the players to "damages worth up to three times what an arbitrator determined [they] lost as a result of the collusion," the Journal reported that legal experts said Kaepernick and Reid would have had a tough time proving their cases.

Beyond that, Yahoo Sports reported, "there are questions about what Kaepernick's value was during those seasons, which could have contributed to the lower settlement amount."

But with the agreement under lock and key and no named source, the real number may never be confirmed.

One last thing…
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