Eric Reid's grievance against Bengals denied, NFLPA 'disappointed' but 'thrilled' safety is with Panthers

Eric Reid's grievance against the Bengals has been denied by an arbitrator, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. Reid, a former first-round pick who played for the 49ers from 2013-2017, went unsigned in the offseason and didn't land with a team until the Panthers inked him to a deal in late September, 280 days after his last NFL game.

The Bengals did have Reid in for his first free-agent visit in the spring and the meeting prompted the NFLPA to file the grievance on Reid's behalf, the very same one that was reportedly just denied. The reason: Bengals owner Mike Brown reportedly asked Reid about whether he planned to continue protesting during the national anthem, as he had done in previous seasons. Brown, according to Pro Football Talk, told Reid "that he intends to prohibit" such protests.

Reid knelt alongside Colin Kaepernick during the 2016 season to protest social injustice and police brutality, and did the same in 2017. He went unsigned this offseason and was passed over by several teams -- including the Titans and Falcons -- in need of help at safety before the Panthers signed him. In May, Reid filed a collusion grievance against the NFL, and a week later the NFLPA filed the non-injury grievance on his behalf. 

On Tuesday afternoon, the NFLPA issued this statement, via Pro Football Talk:

"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."

In his first game with the Panthers on Oct. 7, Reid knelt during the anthem, becoming the first player in Carolina history to do so.

Despite signing in Carolina, Reid did not agree to settle his collusion grievance, which is still pending and contends that NFL owners conspired to keep him out of the league because of his decision to protest. In March, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported that several agents believed teams were avoiding the entire safety position during free agency so it did not seem like they were singling out Reid. And several players around the league, including Torrey Smith and Devin McCourtybelieved that the protests played a part in Reid not being able to find work.

According to Garafolo, Reid's collusion grievance isn't expected to be heard anytime soon.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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