The NFL players union filed a grievance Monday on behalf of former 49ers safety Eric Reid, perhaps the most prominent NFL player who protested during the national anthem last season and who remains jobless almost two months after free agency began.
The NFLPA noted the league has no rules preventing players from demonstrating during the anthem, and that the Collective Bargaining Agreement states that an NFL rule supersedes any conflicting team rule. The NFLPA says at least one team asked Reid inappropriate questions about demonstrations during the national anthem. But he's still looking for a job, and his continued unemployment has prompted a second grievance filed against the NFL.
Although the free-agent market for safeties has been slow, Reid is considered one of the best at his position in the NFL. The union announced Monday that it filed its grievance and was seeking an arbitrator to hear the case.
"Colin [Kaepernick] and Eric have taken courageous action at the expense of their professional careers and personal lives", attorney Mark Geragos, who represents both players in a separate collusion grievance, said in a statement. "We believe these questions are improper, given league policy".
While the Bengals haven't offered a comment at all, Pro Football Talk broke the story of Brown's questioning during the pre-draft visit. Reid has been among the most prominent players to protest by taking a knee during the national anthem.
It seems notable that the union is not alleging collusion, as Reid is, but instead going after a specific team for discriminating against Reid because of his protests. "Our union supports Eric and we are considering other legal options to pursue". Reid is represented by lawyer Mark Geragos, the same man who is now representing Reid's former teammate, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, in his suit against the league. "I don't think it'll be in the form of protesting during the anthem". Reid had joined former San Francisco 49ers teammate Colin Kaepernick in his protests against police brutality and racial inequality.