A vaguely worded press release, conveniently dropped on a Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend, isn’t going to cut it.
The NFL no doubt hopes that its announcement Friday of a settlement with Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid in their collusion lawsuits will bring an end to this whole sordid mess. That the deal will help them win back the fans – to say nothing of potential acts for next year’s Super Bowl halftime show – who are incensed that the league effectively blackballed Kaepernick for taking a stand against the racial and economic discrimination that plagues our society.
Good luck with that. So long as Kaepernick is without a job, the NFL is going to stay on the hook for this disgrace. So long as teams try to claim with straight faces that Nathan Peterman, C.J. Beathard, Mark Sanchez or any other less-talented retread is a “better fit” than Kaepernick, the NFL will never overcome its cowardice.
It’s unclear exactly what the terms of the settlement are. In a joint release, the NFL and Mark Geragos, the attorney representing Kaepernick and Reid, said only that “the parties have decided to resolve the pending grievances. The resolution of this matter is subject to a confidentiality agreement so there will be no further comment by any party.”
But surely part of the NFL’s reasoning was a growing recognition that it was in a no-win position. The party scene at the Super Bowl was one big troll of the NFL, as artists who refused to participate in the halftime show out of support for Kaepernick played events just beyond the league’s reach. The league was ridiculed for having the audacity to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. while actively silencing another advocate of peaceful protest.
Mostly, though, the NFL had to know things were only going to get worse. The unflattering details from depositions of NFL owners and team officials had already begun to leak out – who was supposed to have the responsibility for prepping John Elway, anyway? – and there were plenty more dirty secrets to come.
Follow Nancy Armour on Twitter @nrarmour.