Free agent safety Eric Reid’s grievance against the Cincinnati Bengals will be heard before an arbitrator next Tuesday, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson. The case was originally scheduled for a later date, but was moved up to July 31 at Reid’s request.
Reid’s complaint is believed to entail Bengals owner Mike Brown negotiating in bad faith with Reid as a result of his social injustice protests during his time with the San Francisco 49ers. Reid was brought in by the Bengals for a free agent visit in April, but left without a deal. He’s had no other known workouts or visits since hitting free agency in March.
The former 49ers safety was an advocate in Colin Kaepernick’s original protest back in 2016, and he continued to protest throughout the 2017 season when Kaepernick was no longer on the team. The case against the Bengals is that Brown was never going to offer Reid a contract if Reid told him he would not stop protesting while on the Bengals, despite having legitimate interest in Reid beforehand.
This tactic would go against the collective bargaining agreement, which states that teams are “under obligation to negotiate with good faith.” Because there was no league-wide rule established regarding the protests at the time of the meeting, Brown would be at fault for this specific violation.
“Do I regret stepping into it the way that I apparently did? I think you know the answer to that,” Brown explained regarding the grievance earlier this week during the Bengals’ media luncheon. “It has become a grievance, a lawsuit. I don’t want to get into that matter here. I think my counsel would appreciate my silence on the matter here and suggest I say what I have to say to him.”
The arbitrator who will hear the complaint is Shyam Das, who previously was fired by the MLB as an arbitrator, and has a history siding with the NFL over its players.