Report: Arbitrator denies grievance filed by Eric Reid, NFLPA against Bengals

A grievance filed by the NFL Players Association on behalf of the Carolina Panthers’ Eric Reid was denied by an arbitrator, according to a report by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.

The grievance was filed after Reid went on a free-agent visit to the Cincinnati Bengals earlier this year. The Bengals did not sign him and instead he had to wait until the Panthers signed him a few weeks into the 2018 season.

Bengals ask Reid if he’ll continue kneeling

The Bengals asked during the free-agent visit if Reid planned to continue kneeling during the national anthem. The safety started doing it alongside Colin Kaepernick while with the San Francisco 49ers in 2016.

The NFLPA argued in its grievance that the question put a precondition on employment, which violated the collective-bargaining agreement. The incident happened before the league enacted an anthem policy, which it later shelved.

Carolina Panthers strong safety Eric Reid, center, continues to take a knee during the national anthem. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Carolina Panthers strong safety Eric Reid, center, continues to take a knee during the national anthem. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Arbitrator Shya Das denied the grievance, stating the Bengals were within their rights to ask Reid if he would kneel, according to Garafolo’s sources.

Neither the NFL, NFLPA nor Reid’s attorney, Mark Geragos, had immediate comment on the arbitrator’s decision.

UPDATE (6:20 p.m. ET): The NFLPA released this statement – “Arbitrator Shyam Das issued a decision yesterday siding with management and denying Eric Reid’s claim against the Cincinnati Bengals. We are disappointed in this decision, especially since the arbitrator affirms the facts which our filing was based upon and provides no in-depth analysis of why management can engage in behavior that violates fair hiring practices.

“Despite this decision, we are thrilled that Eric Reid is back with an NFL club doing the job he loves and our hope is that Colin Kaepernick follows him back to the playing field soon.

“We will review the decision more carefully with Eric and his lawyers to consider our next steps.”

Reid continues social activism work with Panthers

The Panthers signed Reid in September and he has continued to kneel during the anthem to raise awareness of social injustice.

He was in a pregame verbal altercation with Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins before Sunday’s game at Lincoln Financial Field and afterward spoke negatively about Jenkins’ approach to social activism. Reid called him a “sellout” and that Jenkins “co-opted the movement that was started by Colin to get his [Players Coalition] organization funded. It’s cowardly.”

Reid, Kaepernick vs. NFL

Reid still has a grievance pending against the NFL while Kaepernick’s grievance was sent to trial. Kaepernick has a major ad campaign with Nike, but no job in the NFL.

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