Most civil settlements include a provision that requires the parties to keep the details of the deal — most importantly, the amount of money that changed hands — quiet and confidential. Few civil settlements will generate the kind of urgency to get the details as will the settlement of the collusion grievances filed against the NFL by Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid.
Although the wishes of the parties should be respected, reporters and media companies (well, all media companies except the media company owned and operated by the NFL) will want to find out what the league paid, justifying the effort to invade a private agreement by citing the public interest.
The effort will be relentless, and it will be creative. For now, no one is talking. As time passes, and perhaps as alcohol flows in and around the Scouting Combine or the annual league meetings in late March, someone will.
Usually in cases like this, the person who receives the money is the one most likely to blab. In this case, the greater risk comes from the people doing the paying.
The NFL’s 32 teams will know the amount, because they’ll be paying the amount in 1/32nd chunks. It takes only one owner to whisper the amount to a reporter in order to get the number out, and it would be impossible for the league office to track down the leak.
If the amount of the payment was high and if an owner wants to make Commissioner Roger Goodell look bad for his handling of the Kaepernick situation, leaking the amount would do it. Conversely, if the amount of the payment was low (especially when divided by 32) and if an owner wants to make Kaepernick’s case look weak, leaking the amount would do it.
The subtle (or not) quid pro quo for whoever gets the information quite possibly would be to couch the payment the way the owner who leaks the payment wants it to be characterized. (The broader quid pro quo could entail a long-term vow by the reporter to “take care” of the source.) And there will be much speculation based on who gets the number as to how and from whom the person got it.
Once the number is out, that could spark another legal skirmish as to which party leaked it and whether some sort of sanction should apply. (Months ago, it was suggested during an episode of the #PFTPM podcast that the league should break the amount into five or 10 annual installments, with an understanding that the payments would immediately end if it can be proven that Kaepernick violated the confidentiality provision.) And it’s entirely possible that one side will leak the information in a way to make it look like the other side leaked it.
Regardless, it would be foolish to think that this information will never come out. It will. Even if it doesn’t, one of the upcoming annual reports issued by the Green Bay Packers may contain one or more hints about how much the Packers (and, in turn, the other 31 teams) paid to make the Kaepernick and Reid cases go away.