Don’t even front, you didn’t believe that Pro Bowl safety Eric Reid would ever play football in the National Football League again after being the first player to join former teammate Colin Kaepernick in protesting police brutality and social injustice by taking a knee during the national anthem.
Well, 2018 is one of those years in which we all continue to do ourselves a disservice by failing to expect the unexpected. Despite his collusion lawsuit against the NFL, Reid was signed to a one-year deal by the Carolina Panthers last week. The Panthers, under leadership from new owner David Tepper, pulled the trigger on what head coach Ron Rivera insists was a football related move.
He ain’t lyin’ about the “football related” part either. The Panthers’ secondary is decimated and in severe need of upgrades.
The now-revealed January assault upon the body of Milwaukee Bucks rookie Sterling Brown is a testament to how little has changed in this country. Recently I had an honest discussion with former NBA player turned activist Etan Thomas about his book, We Matter: Athletes and Activism , the state of activism in professional sports, and much more.
“I thought it was a good decision, and again it was a football decision,” Rivera told reporters on Monday. “When you look at what happened to us with the injury to Da’Norris [Searcy], it made sense to look at the board and say, ‘OK who’s the best available player, the best available veteran player that could come in and add to your team right away?’ And that’s really the thought process behind it, more than anything else.”
“It actually came faster than I thought, but I’m happy to be playing football again,” Reid told reporters Monday.
And Reid is showing no signs of backing down from supporting the movement for black lives or Colin Kaepernick.
He proved that by rocking a #IMWITHKAP t-shirt at the introductory press conference.
Indeed, while Reid’s signing is a welcome surprise, the fact that Kaepernick still remains unsigned is an indictment on the NFL as an institution.
San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid, formerly a vocal part of the Players Coalition that recently negotiated a $89 million deal with the NFL, recently announced that he had withdrawn from the coalition over concerns that Malcolm Jenkin misled him regarding agreeing not to negotiate on behalf of the players without at least one other coalition member present.
Before people begin speculating on whether Reid will cancel his collusion lawsuit against the NFL as a condition of his employment, he has already told reporters that he has no plans to stop.
However, he’s still evaluating if, when and how he’ll proceed with protesting now that he’s back in the game.
“I’m still evaluating the scope of our country, and I’ll make that decision later,” Reid said on Monday.
He reportedly told ESPN that the Carolina Panthers did not ask him about the protest until after he signed.
“I mean, I felt those emotions time and time again,” Reid said. “You can’t live in your own house in America without getting killed. It’s powerful. I will keep speaking for my people.”
Watch safety Eric Reid’s entire press conference following his first practice with the team on Monday.
Will he protest this Sunday?
“Nothing will change unless you talk about it, so we’ll continue to talk about it,” Reid said when asked if playing for the Panthers gives him more of an opportunity to discuss social injustice. “We’ll continue to hold America to the standard it says on paper that we’re all created equal because it’s not that way right now. But we’re going to keep pushing towards that.”