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NFLPA Files Eric Reid Grievance Based on Questions from Teams on Anthem Protests

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2018

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch, left, greets safety Eric Reid (35) after the 49ers beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

The NFLPA filed a non-injury grievance and a system arbitrator case against the league on behalf of free-agent safety Eric Reid, claiming teams asked him inappropriate questions about national anthem demonstrations.

The players association says "at least" one team "asked pre-employment interview questions about a player's intent to demonstrate."

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk specifically reported the Cincinnati Bengals as being named in the grievance.

The NFL does not have a rule against players kneeling or sitting during the national anthem. Reid was the first player to join former teammate Colin Kaepernick in his protests against racial injustice in the United States.

Reid and Kaepernick have both filed separate lawsuits against the NFL, claiming owners colluded to keep them out of the league. Attorney Mark Geragos, who is representing both players, released a statement applauding their efforts.

“Colin and Eric have taken courageous action at the expense of their professional careers and personal lives," Geragos said. "They did these selfless acts because they wanted to shine light on inequity and oppression. Today they welcome all NFL Players who have joined in the prosecution of the NFL for their conspiracy and illegal acts. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the NFLPA in our fight for justice, equality and inalienable rights for all Americans."

Reid, like Kaepernick, has an NFL resume that makes it abundantly clear his protests are playing at least a part in his continued unemployment. He started 69 of his 70 NFL appearances in his first five seasons, including 12 games in 2017. While not among the best players at his position, Reid would be a vast improvement over some safeties currently projected to start around the league—much like Kaepernick is objectively better than many quarterbacks.

According to the NFLPA's grievance, "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."

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