The N.F.L. and Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who ignited a protest movement against racism and police brutality by kneeling on the sideline during the playing of the national anthem at games, have settled a case that accused the league of colluding to keep him off a team.
The league also settled a similar claim lodged by another player, Eric Reid, who knelt alongside Kaepernick and went unsigned for a period before playing last season for the Carolina Panthers. The statement by the N.F.L. said that “the parties have decided to resolve the pending grievances” and that “there will be no further comment” because the players and the league reached a confidentiality agreement.
The terms of the settlements were not disclosed. Kaepernick’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, issued a similar statement.
Kaepernick has not played in the N.F.L. since the 2016 season. He filed his grievance under the league’s collective bargaining agreement in October 2017, and his lawyers have been busy gathering evidence and testimony from N.F.L. owners.
Kaepernick began his protests in August 2016 after several African-American men were shot by police officers.
A number of players across the N.F.L. joined him in kneeling during the anthem, generating a debate over race and player activism, drawing angry tweets from President Trump and flummoxing the league over how to respond.
This movement, however, seemed to lose momentum, and few players knelt during this past season. Kaepernick has said little, reserving most of his comments to his social media accounts. During the Super Bowl, he posted on his Instagram account pictures of athletes and celebrities wearing jerseys supporting his cause.
Legal experts said that Kaepernick could have faced an uphill battle to prove collusion. According to the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the union, the N.F.L. Players Association, the burden is on the player to prove that owners actively conspired against him.
“That is often difficult to do because parties typically don’t leave a written record of their illegal maneuvering,” said William Gould, who was chairman of the National Labor Relations Board and oversaw the Major League Baseball strike in 1994.
But Kaepernick received a favorable ruling in August when the arbitrator overseeing the case, Stephen B. Burbank, said that the case could proceed.
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