The NFLPA filed a grievance against the NFL on behalf of free-agent safety Eric Reid on Monday.
Reid last week filed a separate grievance against the NFL, alleging that he remains unemployed because he participated in polarizing anthem protests the last two years. Reid knelt alongside Colin Kaepernick while they were teammates in San Francisco in 2016, and the pair are separately arguing they have been excommunicated from the league because of their politics.
In a statement, the union said players may not be punished or penalized for demonstrating during the national anthem, and doing so is a violation of the CBA.
“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,” the union said in a statement.
The NFLPA statement argues the following points:
— 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 rules supersede any conflicting club rules.
— According to NFLPA 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,” the NFLPA said.
Presumably, the union is focused on a reported incident with the Bengals in which Reid was brought in for an interview, completed a physical and even watched game film with coaches. But, according to reports, when team owner Mike Brown asked if he would continue to kneel for the anthem — and Reid did not guarantee he would stop — he wasn’t offered a contract.
Last week, lawyer Mark Geragos, who is also representing Kaepernick, confirmed to the Daily News that Reid was also taking the league on.
Kaepernick filed a collusion grievance last year and his lawyers have reportedly grilled Texans owner Bob McNair, and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, as well as commissioner Roger Goodell.
According to Yahoo Sports, President Trump has emerged as a major focus of Reid’s grievance after speaking publicly against kneeling NFL players. Trump also urged NFL owners to fire any player who does not stand for “The Star Spangled Banner.”
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!'” Trump said at a rally last year.
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