COMMENTARY: Colin did not Kaeper-quit in recent settlement with NFL

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COMMENTARY: Colin did not Kaeper-quit in recent settlement with NFL

Eric Reed (left) and Colin Kaepernick (right) both make a bold statement by kneeling for National Anthem before an NFL game.

Eric Reed (left) and Colin Kaepernick (right) both make a bold statement by kneeling for National Anthem before an NFL game.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Eric Reed (left) and Colin Kaepernick (right) both make a bold statement by kneeling for National Anthem before an NFL game.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Eric Reed (left) and Colin Kaepernick (right) both make a bold statement by kneeling for National Anthem before an NFL game.

Denique Williams, Sports Writer

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In a surprise turn of events, Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reed have recently settled their suit against the NFL for an undisclosed amount.

The case argued that the NFL and its stakeholders were colluding to keep Kaepernick and Reed off the field due to their kneeling protests against police brutality and other examples of systemic racism in the United States.

Coming to an undisclosed settlement (that some analysts estimate to be around $40 million) seemed to be the best option for both the NFL and Kaepernick, although others don’t think so. Others, like former Pro Bowl running back Larry Johnson, call Kaepernick a “sell-out” and feel as though he gave up a good cause for monetary gain.

But is this really the case?

This issue seems far less black and white than Kaepernick just taking the money and running.The NFL has a grand history of protecting its image and they, as an enterprise, have a powerful understanding of brand awareness.

With that being said, Kaepernick hurting their important image was something that the NFL could no longer allow. By analyzing the style in which they initially handled the situation back at its inception in 2016 – it is easy to tell that the NFL did not see this as a serious issue.

In fact, the whole protest may have actually died out prior to any thoughts of a settlement, but one thing raised the stakes and the awareness level of Kaepernick’s small protest; That one thing was a comment by President Trump.

By getting involved, he took this moment in history to new politicizing and potentially heights for the NFL. Before he knew it, Kaepernick became the face of a movement and a controversial figure in the public eye: revealing a side of the NFL that they prefer to keep under wraps.

Following an endorsement from Nike, it was clear that the collusion case wasn’t going anywhere and the NFL would have to settle out-of-court. This isn’t necessarily a loss for the NFL however, because it may not have been that easy for Kaepernick to completely prove collusion against him.

In order to prove collusion, Kaepernick’s lawyers would have had to prove that at least two teams or one team and the league actively worked to keep him from playing.

This is a tall order to prove and, in a way, this settlement is a win-win for both sides.Although the case is over, the legacy that it may leave behind is just beginning.

Kaepernick taking on the most profitable sports organization in the world and coming away with any sort of victory is a very big deal. The former 49ers quarterback became a prominent voice on an issue that, prior to all of this, was known of by many but spoken of by few.

Kaepernick used his platform to reopen the conversation on the racial issues that continue to  plague this country. He caused people to think about what they stand for and brought to light what it really means to be a rights leader in today’s day and age. Outside of the monetary settlement, that is certainly a win in its own right.