Was the settlement between Colin Kaepernick and the NFL the first step in the quarterback’s return to the field? It sounds like that may be the case.
Kaepernick’s lawyer Mark Geragos was on CNN Saturday and predicted that a team will step up and sign his client. He named the Carolina Panthers, whose starter Cam Newton is coming off shoulder surgery, as one contender. He mentioned the New England Patriots as another possibility.
Colin Kaepernick’s attorney Mark Geragos told CNN he is predicting Kaepernick will sign a contract with either the Carolina Panthers or the New England Patriots. Geragos also referenced a possible third team but never named the team. pic.twitter.com/9Kre3BfNak
— Jill Martin (@ByJillMartin) February 17, 2019
Geragos mentioned a third team as a possibility, saying Kaepernick’s former coach could be interested. That one is harder to figure out considering both Jim Harbaugh and Chip Kelly are back in college, though he may be talking about one of the assistants.
What would make the Panthers a fit? They already showed a willingness to look beyond the kneeling by signing Eric Reid, plus they could use a solid backup with Newton returning from his shoulder injury. The Patriots have also shown a great willingness in the past to sign controversial players, like Tim Tebow and Chad Johnson to name a few. If anyone can keep the media in line and handle the situation well, it’s Bill Belichick. But would they want that when they’re coming off a Super Bowl win? Maybe not.
Kaepernick’s return will be highly intriguing. He has not played in the NFL since the 2016 season and on Friday announced that he had settled his collusion case with the league.
LeBron James is one of the most powerful voices in sports, and he’s not afraid to speak about social issues, so it’s no real surprise to hear him back Colin Kaepernick.
James weighed in on Kaepernick’s NFL settlement Saturday morning, and said that many of his critics and detractors weren’t paying attention to the real message he was trying to send.
“I stand with Kap. I kneel with Kap. I feel like what he was talking about nobody wanted to listen to. Nobody wanted to really understand where he was coming from.” pic.twitter.com/TUjpgK8JHj
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) February 16, 2019
Kaepernick has found wide support in the NBA community. It’s not at all surprising that James would back him and not be afraid to speak publicly about it.
Kaepernick settled his collusion case against the NFL on Friday, with rumors indicating he got a huge sum from the league. Unfortunately, we’ll likely never know the extent of what might have turned up in said case.
Colin Kaepernick and the NFL announced on Friday that they have settled the collusion case the quarterback and his former teammate, Eric Reid, had filed against the league. The news is nothing short of shocking, and the acceptance of a settlement is a massive disappointment for those who believed Kaepernick was taking a stand against the league.
Kaepernick and attorney Mark Geragos filed a lawsuit against the NFL in Oct. 2017 in which they alleged there was collusion by the league and its owners to keep the quarterback from being offered a contract. Kaepernick played for the San Francisco 49ers during the 2016 season and caused a nationwide controversy by demonstrating during the national anthem, first by sitting down for it and later by kneeling. His protest was aimed to bring attention to issues such as police brutality and social/racial injustice.
After his kneeling drew so much attention, sparking a movement that was followed by other athletes, and lasting into the 2017 season and beyond, Kaepernick was never offered another NFL job again. Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since the 2016 season despite being more qualified as a player than many other quarterbacks who were on rosters.
That led Kaepernick and Geragos to file the lawsuit, which Reid, who kneeled alongside Kaepernick while with the 49ers, later joined.
The crux of the case was simple: Kaepernick and his legal team had to prove that the NFL owners had collectively organized to keep the quarterback out of the league. They sought text messages, emails, and all sorts of communication they could get their hands on that would prove there was a premeditated effort to keep Kaepernick from getting a job with one of the league’s teams. They were trying to prove that each team was not merely acting independently when deciding that Kaepernick was not a proper fit for them, but rather that there was some premeditated effort by owners/the commissioner to keep the quarterback out of the league because of what he signified.
The case seemed to be progressing well, with Geragos signifying they found someone who was ratting out the NFL. On top of that, the arbitrator said in August that the case could proceed to trial rather than be dismissed as the NFL sought.
And then on Friday, five and a half months after being cleared to proceed to a trial, the two sides announced they had agreed to a settlement. The settlement includes a confidentiality agreement, which means whatever evidence Geragos and his team dug up will not be made public. We will never get to the bottom of the case, we won’t learn which teams colluded against Kaepernick, and we won’t find out what efforts were made to keep him from being signed. In essence, we won’t get the truth.
The settlement of the case seems like a tacit acknowledgment of guilt from the NFL. After all, if they didn’t have anything to cover up, if they had no reason to fear things emerging in a trial, why would they settle? They are known for being especially litigious and willing to take matters to court, so this course of action is unusual for them.
But for a guy whose motto supposedly was “believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” this rings of being disingenuous. What’s the message Kaepernick is sending in the end? Stop standing up for your principles as long as the money is right? You don’t need to break down a system trying to silence outspoken athletes as long as you’re getting paid enough?
An issue that was supposedly at the heart of the fracture within the Players Coalition was some players wanting to take a payout from the league to end the kneeling, and use the money to make a change in their communities, whereas others like Reid and Kaepernick wanted to fight until the end and not settle. And here Kaepernick is, not going to trial to show the world what the NFL had done, what actions league officials and owners had taken, but instead agreeing to a confidential settlement.
At the end of the day, after standing up for what he believed was right and being a societal leader, Kaepernick is accepting hush money. Those who backed him, believed in him, bought into his movement, deserved much more. They deserved to know the truth, and he has robbed them of that.
The biggest question many had after learning of Colin Kaepernick’s settlement with the NFL was what the league gave him to put the entire thing behind them. While we still don’t know for sure, we appear to have our first guess.
According to Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report, NFL officials believe the league paid out something between $60 million and $80 million as part of the settlement.
Number NFL team officials are speculating to me is the NFL paid Kaepernick in the $60 to $80 million range.
— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) February 15, 2019
We may never know for sure, as a confidentiality agreement is part of the settlement, which was announced Friday. It’s also possible that there were other non-financial stipulations either side agreed to. That said, if these numbers are correct, it’s a pretty clear signal that the NFL really didn’t want to go to discovery. If they weren’t scared of losing the case, they were, at minimum, clearly concerned that damaging or embarrassing revelations could be made public as proceedings continued.
The big question is what Kaepernick’s incentive was to settle. Obviously his financial payout may have been huge, but he may have had a chance to win his case, or at least shed some light on some of the league practices he seemed interested in exposing. With the confidentiality agreement, the latter will not happen now.
Colin Kaepernick has settled his collusion case with the NFL.
Kaepernick’s attorney Mark Geragos announced on Friday in a statement that the two sides resolved the matter.
— Mark Geragos (@markgeragos) February 15, 2019
The league issued a similar statement.
“For the past several months, counsel for Mr. Kaepernick and Mr. Reid have engaged in an ongoing dialogue with representatives of the NFL. As a result of those discussions, the parties have decided to resolve the pending grievances. The resolution of this matter is subject to a confidentiality agreement so there will be no further comment by any party.”
Mr. Reid is a reference to Eric Reid, the safety for the Carolina Panthers who also joined the collusion suit against the league.
Yahoo’s Charles Robinson notes that there was talk from a source previously that Kaepernick would only withdraw his suit if there was a lucrative settlement.
In a stunning move strongly signaling a financial settlement between Colin Kaepernick and the #NFL, Yahoo Sports has learned the QB has withdrawn his collusion complaint against the NFL. Sources previously said Kaepernick would only withdraw if a lucrative settlement was secured.
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) February 15, 2019
It’s hard to view this as anything other than disappointing from Kaepernick’s party. His whole stance of standing up for social injustice and racial inequality seemed to be at the cost of his earnings. Why would he agree to a confidential settlement now rather than let the truth come out? It seems that would better serve society, and now those who wanted to know the truth won’t get those answers.
Colin Kaepernick was offered an opportunity to play in the Alliance of American Football for the league’s inaugural season this year, but his salary demands made that unrealistic. In fact, the former NFL quarterback wanted even more money than was initially reported.
Reports on Thursday indicated that Kaepernick was seeking $20 million to play in the AAF in 2019. According to sports business reporter Darren Rovell, that number is inaccurate — Kaep wanted more.
$20 million number floating around on Colin Kaepernick for what he wanted to sign with the new upstart AAF is not completely accurate. I was told he wanted MORE. pic.twitter.com/7iW8tH7js4
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) February 15, 2019
Kaepernick had to have known there was no way the AAF was going to pay him that kind of money, even if he would have been the most high-profile player in the league. The AAF currently has the same contract structure for all players: they receive $70,000 in their first year, $80,000 in their second, and $100,000 in their third. Players are free to pursue NFL careers beginning in May, but they must return to the AAF the following season if they don’t secure an NFL opportunity.
There were rumblings that Kaepernick was demanding too much money from NFL teams at one point, but most agree he has not played in the league since 2016 because he is credited with starting the national anthem protest movement. While most players in the AAF are trying to prove they have the ability to play in the NFL, Kaepernick likely believes that is not the issue for him.
The Alliance of American Football league debuted last weekend with some recognizable names on their rosters, though none as big as Colin Kaepernick. The former NFL quarterback is a player they actually had conversations with about playing for the league, though his price tag was an impediment.
According to the AP, Kaepernick sought $20 million to consider playing in the league. The league also approached Tim Tebow, who declined their interest in order to continue his pro baseball career.
Kaepernick made over $43 million during his NFL career, according to Spotrac. He made at least $12 million per year from 2014-2016.
Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since 2016, which is when he began protesting racial and social injustice and police brutality through demonstrations in the national anthem. His methods led to nationwide attention, making him a polarizing figure.
Even though he is not playing football, Kaepernick does have a major endorsement deal with Nike.
The AAF has the same contract structure for their players: they receive $70,000 in their first year, $80,000 in their second, and $100,000 in their third. The $20 million mark from Kaepernick was probably a starting point for negotiations, but regardless, the figure was well beyond what they are paying any other players.