As the NFL struggles with declining ratings, concussion controversies, a bumbling commissioner and cratering public sentiment, the monolithic titan of American sports has begun looking vulnerable for the first time in a while.
Oh, and there’s the little issue of free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s collusion grievance against the NFL. If the league is found guilty of colluding to keep Kaepernick out of the league, it could invalidate the entire collective bargaining agreement. Of note, the current CBA strongly favors the owners.
That’s to say nothing of the periodic shots that President Donald Trump takes at the NFL and its national anthem protesters.
The NFL really can’t afford to stretch its resources any thinner. The league is in a cultural war on far too many fronts.
Now it has another issue to deal with.
Free agent safety Eric Reid, notable for being the first person to kneel alongside San Francisco 49ers teammate Kaepernick when he began his national anthem protests in 2016, has followed suit and also filed a collusion grievance against the NFL, according to multiple reports.
Per ESPN, Reid will be represented by Mark Geragos, the same attorney representing Kaepernick in his collusion grievance.
Reid, 26, remains unsigned despite the general consensus that he’s a starting safety in the NFL. Reid’s rookie contract with the 49ers expired at the end of last season.
Reid was drafted by the Niners in 2013 as a first-round pick. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie but has not been back since.
According to TMZ Sports, Reid is also invoking Trump in his grievance.
Reid and his representation reportedly believe NFL owners are afraid of Trump and any potential backlash they might face for signing an anthem protester.
The NFLPA released a statement regarding Reid.
Statement on Eric Reid Collusion Grievance pic.twitter.com/Z4eGAADCoE
— NFLPA (@NFLPA) May 2, 2018
Reid, in 13 games played, notched 67 tackles and two interceptions last season. He also started to transition to a linebacker-safety hybrid in 2017 after primarily playing just safety.
Of note, there’s only been one marquee safety signed in free agency this year, which was Tyrann Mathieu going to the Houston Texans. It’s been a notably cold free agency for safeties: Kenny Vaccaro, Tre Boston, Mike Mitchell and T.J. Ward are among the many former starters who remain unsigned.
Reid will also have to explain to any arbitrators in a potential grievance about his lengthy injury history, which could give any number of teams a cause to pause. In recent years, Reid has had to deal with concussion issues, a torn biceps and knee injuries piling up.
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