Last week, former San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid filed a grievance against the NFL, citing collusion in the free agency process. A week later, the NFL Players Association has joined in with their own non-injury grievance.
The NFLPA announced on Monday that they have filed the grievance and a system arbitrator case on behalf of Reid. They filed the case based on the fact that the NFL has no rule prohibiting players from demonstrating during the National Anthem, the CBA states a league rule supersedes conflicting club rules, and a team appears to have based a signing decision on Reid’s statement about the protest. Additionally, they believe Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown’s reported questioning about Reid’s intent to demonstrate was improper given league policy.
The system arbitration case is related to the NFL not enforcing their lack of a prohibition on kneeling during the Anthem. Pro Football Talk offers some helpful insight on what the means. This comes following Mark Maske’s report that NFL owners are considering a “compromise” solution that would leave it up to each individual club as to whether they would require players stand during the Anthem. A compromise offers benefits to both sides. I’m a little hesitant in seeing how this offers a benefit to both sides, and instead strikes me as a chicken-[site decorum] way out of this for Roger Goodell and the owners.
Here’s the full NFLPA statement, followed by a statement by Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid’s legal team.
The NFLPA has filed a non-injury grievance and a system arbitrator case on behalf of free agent safety Eric Reid. Prior to the start of the current NFL off-season, our Union directed the agents of free agent players who had participated in peaceful on-field demonstrations to collect, memorialize and report any relevant information about potential violations of the Collective Bargaining Agreement by teams. These cases were filed based upon the following:
- There is no League rule that prohibits players from demonstrating during the national anthem.
- The NFL has made it clear both publicly and to the NFLPA that they would respect the rights of players to demonstrate.
- The Collective Bargaining Agreement definitively states that League (NFL) rules supersede any conflicting club rules.
- 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 the League policy.
- At least one club owner has asked pre-employment interview questions about a player’s intent to demonstrate. We believe these questions are improper, given League policy.
Statement from Colin Kaepernick & Eric Reid’s legal time
“Colin and Eric have taken courageous action at the expense of their professional careers and personal lives. 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.”