The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) is set to file two grievances with the NFL, over the league’s national anthem protest policies.
Sources say that the player’s group will be filing one case against the Cincinnati Bengals and a second against the league as a whole, to assure players’ right to protest.
The filing against the Bengals is reportedly on behalf of former San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid who had a meeting with the team only to find owner Mike Brown grilling him over his protests. The filing is reportedly a “non-injury grievance” under the labor deal.
The second grievance is more far-reaching. It purportedly seeks a “system arbitration” against the whole league to prevent any particular team from forcing players to abandon their protests and to stand for the anthem.
The league essentially made the protests possible, by including rules that players need only be on the sidelines during the anthem. The current league rule book does not require players to stand for the anthem.
However, recent reports say that the league may be preparing to allow the teams to make their own rules on the protests. Today’s reports of the NFLPA’s filings are likely in response to the news that league may be altering direction on the protests.
The union’s new cases come in addition to the two grievances already filed by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and Eric Reid; neither of whom have been signed by a team in their free agency. Both are claiming that the league is colluding to keep them unemployed.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.