“Some” big-name NFL players will not go back to work until Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid have contracts, according to independent football reporter Shaun King.
As Yahoo News reports, King says that “several” star NFL players have told him that they won’t return to training camp until the two most famous national anthem protesters have jobs. What’s more, those players hope that come training camp, at least 25 percent of the NFL’s players will join them in protest. King is not disclosing the names of the players who have supposedly told him this nor is he saying how many he’s spoken to.
Kaepernick and Reid are not the only NFL players to have taken a knee during the national anthem at games. However, they are the only two players to have become unemployed as a result.
However, now there’s no reason they shouldn’t have jobs, says NBC Sports writer Mike Florio. That’s because the NFL’s new national anthem policy basically removes their opportunity to protest. The policy, announced last week, gives players the opportunity to stay in the locker room during the national anthem but will fine them if they kneel for the anthem.
With that “impediment” to their employment now gone, NFL teams should be scrambling to offer checks to the two free agents.
And indeed, says King, an unnamed number of current players are willing to back up with their wallets their belief that Reid and Kaepernick deserve jobs.
It will likely be a few weeks before their protest, if it happens, will be visible. Training camps won’t get going until the end of July, according to the NFL, and any opportunity for players to sit out en masse won’t happen until then.
If it does happen, the players will feel the pain in their wallets: The NFL allows teams to penalize players up to $40,000 per day for missing training camp. What’s more, players can forfeit chunks of their signing bonuses for sitting out training camp.
An even bigger problem for Kaepernick and Reid supporters, however, is this: Most teams are willing to give players a pass for sitting out training camp if it comes to contract disputes. However, sitting out training camp for supporting players shunned for national anthem protests likely isn’t going to sit well with team management, says Florio.
“It’s safe to say that owners wouldn’t react well to walkouts based on the status of Kaepernick and Reid.”