Saturday Sports: Colin Kaepernick And Kareem Hunt
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
I wait every week to say it's time for sports.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SIMON: The NFL and Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid have reached an agreement - nondisclosure agreement. But we'll talk about it. Also, the debate in Cleveland over signing a player who shoved and kicked a woman in a hotel hallway. NPR's Tom Goldman joins us. Tom, thanks so much for being with us.
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Scott.
SIMON: Colin Kaepernick's lawyer put out a statement on Twitter saying they had, quote, "resolved pending grievances." Is that agent talk for they threw money at my client?
GOLDMAN: Well, we think so. But we don't know. Kaepernick and Eric Reid sued the NFL, claiming the league conspired to not hire them after their protests during the national anthem, as you remember - started by Kaepernick in 2016 to protest police brutality and racial injustice. Now, Yahoo Sports said it was told previously the players would only settle if a lucrative financial agreement was reached. But we don't know for sure because a confidentiality agreement, as you pointed out, is sealing everyone's lips.
SIMON: Well, let me ask. Why didn't the NFL want the case to go to trial?
GOLDMAN: It's a big, powerful business. It doesn't like its inner workings exposed. So it makes sense the league didn't want this to go the distance. Last August, an arbitrator rejected the NFL request to dismiss the case. A hearing was coming up. And there would have been potentially sensitive NFL material revealed. There was also the chance that even though collusion is hard to prove, Kaepernick and Reid might have had enough to win. And that would have been a huge PR hit for the NFL.
SIMON: Does this necessarily mean Colin Kaepernick's going to be signed by any team?
GOLDMAN: We don't know. We really don't know at this point. It means, perhaps, that that he got a lot of money. But we just don't know at this point.
SIMON: Moving on. Kareem Hunt has signed with Cleveland Browns two months after he was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs when video surfaced of him shoving and kicking a woman. The NFL always says they won't tolerate players who commit domestic violence. But Kareem Hunt is just the latest link to domestic violence to be signed to get another chance.
GOLDMAN: Yeah. That's right. There is Joe Mixon in Cincinnati, Tyreek Hill in Kansas City. The NFL does have a - shall we call it - a difficult history with this issue. In Hunt's case, though, Scott, this isn't simply a green light and you're back. He can't play until the NFL finishes investigating and decides on punishment. He's still facing multiple game suspension. And the Browns say they will have zero tolerance for any other incidents involving Hunt.
SIMON: A great Cleveland sportswriter, Mary Kay Cabot, wrote what - you and I both read it - a very provocative column...
SIMON: ...This week in which she said - I'm going to paraphrase - look, Kareem Hunt grew up in a violent neighborhood near Cleveland. Many of his immediate family members, including his father and uncles were in prison and are now - so is his mother. He needs help. He's getting it. He has a chance to turn this around. It could be a victory for victims of violence for everyone he helps in the future.
GOLDMAN: Yeah. It was revealing and significant, as you say, that it was written by a woman. It's tricky because the NFL has this difficult history that we've talked about when it comes to domestic violence cases. And let's be clear, Scott, this isn't just altruism. The Browns are getting a great running back. He led the NFL in rushing as a rookie in 2017. But Hunt is getting another chance to move beyond this toxic...
SIMON: We should explain he wasn't charged.
GOLDMAN: Right. Right. He wasn't charged. And he's getting this second chance to move beyond this toxic world you talk about. Cleveland general manager John Dorsey reportedly is a religious man who believes strongly in Hunt's character and believes in that chance that the team's giving him.
SIMON: Tom Goldman, thanks so much.
GOLDMAN: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.