NFL should settle Colin Kaepernick grievance

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It won’t be cheap, but it will be worth every penny.

Yes, the NFL should buy permanent peace with quarterback Colin Kaepernick. They should do it in order to end once and for all the debate about whether Kaepernick should have a job. They should do it in order to block a potential conclusion that the league colluded to keep Kaepernick unemployed. They should do it in order to avoid a My Cousin Vinny/Seinfeld finale-style trial, that will feature a parade of billionaires and multimillionaires who inevitably will contradict each other and themselves as they occupy the rare position of having to submit to authority other than their own.

They should do it in order to ensure that none of the testimony, text messages, emails, or other materials created by the litigation will ever see the light of day.

All of that can be done, if the NFL is willing to write a check big enough to get Kaepernick to agree to a deal. It would be not only a settlement of his collusion claim but also a full and final divorce between employer and employee, coupled with a broad and wide-ranging commitment to never talk about the collusion case, to never share any of the evidence obtained during the process with outsiders, and to never disparage the NFL or any of its teams.

That’s a big part of what the league would be paying for: Silence. And to ensure that there would be no violation, the league could divide the compensation package into annual payments from an escrow account, with the ability to block those payments if Kaepernick violates any of the terms of the settlement. If Kaepernick ever blabs, then the payments would stop.

Jason La Canfora of CBS recently reported that efforts to negotiate a settlement broke down, with the league and the NFL Players Association now planning for a full-blown collusion hearing, with two weeks in early 2019 eventually set aside for a real-life drama that unfortunately won’t happen in an open and public setting.

Settlement talks can resume at any time, and it’s often the impending commencement of a trial that will prompt an agreement on the proverbial (or literal) courthouse steps. But if the lawyers are too caught up in their own convictions to ever be objective when it comes to assessing the strengths of the opposition’s case, a middle ground can never be found — and one side will end up being stunned by the final result, if/when the arbitrator decides that the opponent’s presentation of the evidence and its application to the appropriate legal statements makes more sense.

For the NFL, the financial and P.R. consequences would be potentially too significant to justify the risk. At a time when the anthem controversy has almost entirely subsided (surely, some sort of a deal was struck between 345 Park and 1600 Pennsylvania to get a certain someone to quit tweeting about the issue), why pull the topic back to the front burner and turn up the heat? Even if the NFL wins, there will be dribs and drabs of documents and testimony that eventually land in the media, and the NFL will be fighting the battle to not look bad for weeks if not months to come.

The NFL often receives criticism for not being proactive. This case presents an ideal opportunity to identify a problem, creatively predict how it could mushroom into a much bigger mess, and come up with a way to keep it all from blowing up in the league’s face.

66 responses to “NFL should settle Colin Kaepernick grievance

  1. What they should do is make him go through a tryout and give him a quiz on how to read defenses. Then there will be no doubt it’s not collusion–it’s that he is terrible. Did you notice the AAF QB draft was Tuesday night and nobody selected him? If he’s not good enough to play in the AAF what makes one think he’s NFL caliber anymore?

  2. You’re thinking like a lawyer. Pay him nothing because there is and was no collusion. Why can’t you understand, as much as the media hopes otherwise, that there is simply no team that wants Kaepernick? Logically, who would want this guy — he can’t play, he is a huge distraction, and he alienates customers. His failure to find a job makes perfect sense.

  3. What evidence is there that “… the lawyers are too caught up in their own convictions to ever be objective when it comes to assessing the strengths of the opposition’s case, a middle ground can never be found…”? That seems to be a bit of a reach.

    Perhaps it is the NFL or maybe even Mr. Kaepernick that are being unreasonable in offers or demands – even in the face of the advice of lawyers.

    I’m not sure how beneficial it is for the NFL to settle though. As soon as they do, there will be a host of “journalists” writing articles convicting the NFL in the media of collusion.

  4. “This case presents an ideal opportunity to identify a problem, creatively predict how it could mushroom into a much bigger mess, and come up with a way to keep it all from blowing up in the league’s face.”

    Which means this will absolutely blow up in the league’s face.

  5. You could not be more wrong. It’s not collusion, it’s a terrible player, with a lot of negative baggage. Only a lawyer would want to settle a case that is unwinnable for the defendant.

  6. “They should do it in order to end once and for all the debate about whether Kaepernick should have a job.”
    ———-
    No logical person or anyone who has been paying attention to the actual game for the past few years is having this debate. The whiners and idiots are having that debate, not the adults and business/football people in the room.

  7. After the settlement the NFL should spend millions investigating whether or not it actually did anything wrong, and then suspend itself.

  8. 1. Stop televising the kneeling – problem solved.

    2. Don’t set a precedent that any young unemployed players can extract money from the league by simply filing a collusion grievance; instead, make him prove it and eat his words.

  9. People he didn’t get selected to any draft because he’s questionably in game shape….it’s been years since he was playing in a game and years since the whole reading defense thing…..you can’t honestly tell me he’s worse than nathan peterman…

  10. Wrong, the NFL should hold the line. Capitulating to Kap would be a serious mistake and open the door to further shakedowns by disgruntled players. Incidentally, just exactly what is “collusion” and where is it defined? The notion Kap has some “right” to be in the NFL is absurd.

  11. Terrible idea that would set a horrible precedent. There is no evidence that the NFL owners colluded to keep Kaepernick unsigned. The fact that he lost his job to Blaine Gabbert and had a horrible record his final season says it all. Kaepernick has no more right to demand a chance than Manziel or a ton of other busts. The fact that he had the arrogance to sue the league as if it is self evident that his mediocre stats should excuse the drama he brings is ridiculous and only those who have been on Kaepernick’s side throughout this legal drama, (hint, hint), would advise the league to settle with him!

  12. Mike granted I’m not a lawyer so I ask you since you are. The NFL vehemently denies collusion as far as I’m concerned. So if they still stand by that, why would they settle? Wouldn’t that mean they did collude and thus bring down their whole case? I don’t understand.

  13. “They should do it in order to ensure that none of the testimony, text messages, emails, or other materials created by the litigation will ever see the light of day.”

    You’re assuming that they have something to hide. I’m not so sure they do.

  14. dannyabramowitz says:
    November 28, 2018 at 11:39 am
    You’re thinking like a lawyer. Pay him nothing because there is and was no collusion. Why can’t you understand, as much as the media hopes otherwise, that there is simply no team that wants Kaepernick? Logically, who would want this guy — he can’t play, he is a huge distraction, and he alienates customers. His failure to find a job makes perfect sense.
    ——————————

    Of course he’s thinking like a lawyer this is a legal issue. It’s not logical to let emotion rule your decision making as many making comments here are doing. On the other hand why would Kap give in without a job. The writer is correct here, the collusion case would become secondary to the release of embarrassing documents and conflicting testimony. The NFL has to ask the question is it worth the price?

  15. I absolutely disagree. He was offered a contract with the Denver Broncos and declined. Therefore no collusion. Don’t settle. He’s a black eye on the NFL. Wear it like a badge of honor!

  16. This seems like it would basically be an extortion payment which, to be fair, was basically the goal of Kaepernick/Geragoes from jump. They launched this lawsuit to either extort the NFL into colluding to get him employed or at least extort money out of them to avoid potentially having scarcely related dirty laundry aired out in public. Geragos has made how many unsubstantiated claims that “something big is coming next week?” He knows what he’s doing, which again amounts to legal extortion.

    The NFL already made their offer, which I’m guessing amounted to little more than enough to pay Kaepernick’s legal fees plus maybe a small amount of “go away” money. My guess is Kaepernick/Geragos are looking for an amount in excess of $100 million, with the ridiculous claim/assumption that Kaepernick otherwise would have played another 5+ years at All-Pro quarterback money.

    Let the court case play out. I guarantee the vast amount of incriminating leaks will actually be against Kaepernick himself as opposed to anything against the league. They will find out that just like Tim Tebow, teams just don’t want anything to do with a below-average quarterback who will bring along more drama than production, and that collusion wasn’t necessary to make that happen.

  17. Kap was bottom five in all major passing categories his last year in the game and had a terrible winning percentage his last two. All under Chip Kelly who would know how to use a running QB. He is a marginal play-action, two-read QB who WOULD be in the league if he never took a knee.

    But guess what?

    Kap did kneel and it alienated a majority of fans and it is completely understandable that no team would want him.

    Why can’t you understand this reasoning?

    If you were running a business would you sign a marginal player who ALSO angered paying customers?

    The answer is NO!!!!!

  18. If 32 professional entities come to the same conclusion about a player, that doesn’t make it collusion. That means that 32 like-minded people with the exact same goal share the same view on Kap. He refused to restructure his contract and accept a trade to Denver. He had a failed tryout with Seattle. He almost certainly had a job with Baltimore until he let Social Media ruin his chances. He hasn’t been stone-walled by this league. He has taken EVERY opportunity to sabotage his return to the NFL and he is desperately trying to be a martyr.

  19. The NFL will go to the wall on this one. It’s a shakedown plain and simple. They will make an example for anyone in the future that tries to pull a stunt with an ambulance chasing lawyer and a media circus trial. Just settling is NOT happening.

  20. No they shouldn’t . He’s too much of a pain in the neck and not worth the hassle. He doesn’t want to play.

  21. He has been offered contracts… notably from the Ravens but it wasn’t enough money for him so his girlfriend tweeted the Django Unchained thing.

  22. When will Nathan Peterman file his grievance? Cause it’s got about the same level of merit as Kaepernick’s grievance. Two bad QBs, out of work because they’re bad.

  23. Gordon Andrews says:
    November 28, 2018 at 11:50 am
    People he didn’t get selected to any draft because he’s questionably in game shape….it’s been years since he was playing in a game and years since the whole reading defense thing…..you can’t honestly tell me he’s worse than nathan peterman…
    ———————————-
    By your own statement you admit that he is in questionable game shape, years since he played the game and years since he has had to read a defense(something he wasn’t good at to begin with)…that said…you can’t honestly say he is BETTER than Nathan Peterman and Peterman doesn’t have the negative baggage.

  24. This was baby kaep’s problem as a child… Cried until he got him mommy to give him candy. Poor parenting in action.

  25. Unlike some positions good QB’s must set self interest aside and be a leader. Not a leader of personal causes but a leader of winning football games. That is something Kaepernick has never done. Collective recognition a player is not willing to place the team’s interest ahead of their own, is not collusion. It’s a good football decision.

  26. It’s so interesting to read these comments from guys who have NO legal experience. Proven by the fact that if you did, you’d be busy somewhere making money on your “legal” opinions instead of commenting on a football blog website. Are you going to sit there and say the Kaepernick could not at least compete for the job against such QBs as Derek Carr, Blake Bortles, Nathan Peterman, Eli Manning, Jameis Winston or other obviously inept NFL QBs? You’d be lying if you said so. You same guys are probably making $20 an hour (or less) at jobs that you HATE and cannot fathom giving this guy a contract because the money is driving your envy and jealousy. Well newsflash: Kaepernick probably made more money in his endorsements last WEEK than you’ll make ALL YEAR! The truth hurts.

    What were YOU doing the last time the national anthem was being sang at a sporting event? I’ll venture to bet that your bloated self was in the beer line, with your hat on and oblivious to it even happening. Oh the hypocrisy!

  27. I highly doubt they could find any evidence of collusion against Kaepernick, now if you said Patriots or Tom Brady there’s probably plenty of evidence of the NFL and owners’ collusion there but it’s inadmissible in this court proceeding. I guess it could get leaked during the trial, like Brady’s messages got leaked during Deflategate. You know, those messages that weren’t retrievable because they were on Brady’s “destroyed” phone?

  28. damage is already done… settling now in no way will “help” the NFL as it pertains to public relations. People have already made up their minds, let the chips fall where they may. The ONLY reason the NFL should settle is if they are actually guilty and that can be proven in court.

  29. bannedfromchoirpractice says:
    November 28, 2018 at 12:32 pm
    Former NFL star quarterback Kaep is winning. Current President Donald J. Trump is losing. Haters are hating.
    ————————————

    Fixed it for you. Doesn’t make much sense does it?

  30. Blaine Gabbert beat him out for his job.
    He had a chance with Baltimore and blew it. When teams see that kind of nonsense it is not colusion if they come to the same conclusion.Guy is not worth the headaches.

  31. I wouldn’t give him a dime. If he was a really good QB he would be on a roster. As far as the “anthem protests” being a non-issue now, that damage is done as well. TV ratings may have stabilized but the attendance at games is still suffering despite what many want you to believe. I have been to a Falcons game and a Redskins games this year and the number of empty seats were VERY noticeable.

  32. The NFL should just publicly announce they’re willing to donate all of the settlement money to the charity of Kaepernick’s choice if he drops the lawsuit.

    That way, it forces him to choose between his preferred public persona of a “rebel philantropist” and his (more likely) selfish motivations for this lawsuit.

  33. Hard for Kap to back down and settle. If he does, the NFL wins and his “principles” would be compromised. Settlement talks broke down but not from money differences. Kap wants the NFL to admit wrong doing and the NFL won’t.

    The NFL wants the P.R. nightmare to end, it’s costing large sums to litigate, and they feel they didn’t violate any policy, regulation or Constitutional Protection.

    I don’t anticipate a settlement.

  34. A settlement would admit nothing, actually, since that’s what settlements are for. That’s why every corporation ever and every famous person ever settles their cases instead of trying them. It’s a way to say categorically that is no categorical conclusion. You’re paying the thing to go away.

    As far as settlement negotiations “breaking down”, that was to be expected. Mediation or arbitration before the trial is mostly for show in cases such as these where the public eye has made each side more interested in the news coverage than in whatever their own interests might have been otherwise. This is not a new development so much as an expected result given the importance of the press coverage to each side.

  35. so what you telling me is the this whole thing was an extortion attempt. I see it all so clearly now. Thanks for clearing that up for me. The ratings are way up, yea this has been a terrible PR nightmare. I saw a report that 2 black entertainer turned down the half time show and now Maroon 5 is doing it. It will be funny in 5 years when everyone is complaining that only white performers are getting to play at the half time. Let’s face it, you know that is how it will play out.

  36. Aw, c’mon Mike. You have to know that Kaep is all about the cause, and would never agree to just “keep quiet and go away”. It isn’t in his DNA.

  37. Kaep only pivoted toward social justice boycott AFTER he was benched and caught pouting. To my knowledge, he had not been involved in any injustice protests prior to his benching.

  38. I don’t want the league to settle. For months I’ve been promised a “bombshell” by that ambulance-chaser Mark Geragos and the NFL cannot unfairly deny me of this by settling out of court. I can’t wait to see what they have….my guess is it’s jack.

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