Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, the NFL stars who alleged the league’s teams colluded to keep them off the field after they led protests during the national anthem, will receive less than $10 million to settle grievances with the league, according to people briefed on the deal.
The confidential agreement was widely celebrated as a victory for the players. But the settlement is far less than the tens of millions of dollars Mr. Kaepernick, especially, would have likely been owed if his grievance had prevailed. It couldn’t be determined how the payment is divided between the players and how much they will net after legal fees.
Mr. Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, and Mr. Reid, a safety, alleged in their grievances that they were blackballed by the league after they catalyzed a movement of protests—typically kneeling or holding up a fist—during the national anthem to draw attention to social issues and racial inequality. Mr. Kaepernick, who has gone unsigned the last two seasons, filed his grievance in 2017. Mr. Reid followed suit last year, and was later signed by the Carolina Panthers midway through the 2018 season.
An NFL spokesman declined to comment. An attorney for Messrs. Kaepernick and Reid said they are respecting the deal’s confidentiality agreement.
The league and attorneys for the players did not announce terms of the deal last month when they announced a settlement of the respective grievances. The parties said the agreement was subject to a confidentiality agreement and that there would be no further comment from any party. Details of the settlement have been tightly held among just a few league officials and Mr. Kaepernick’s attorneys.
If Mr. Kaepernick had won his grievance, the league’s collective bargaining agreement with its players would have entitled him to damages worth up to three times what an arbitrator determined he lost as a result of the collusion. If Mr. Kaepernick’s market value had been judged to be a total of $30 million over the two seasons he was sidelined—a ballpark price tag for a player of his caliber—he could have been awarded $90 million from the ruling.