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Owners continue to slide down the slope of indecency and attack African-American players who were either vocal or instrumental in the NFL anthem protests sparked by former San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick's desire to inspire a national debate about social and economic oppression, discrimination and police brutality in America.

Owners continue to slide down the slope of indecency and attack African-American players who were either vocal or instrumental in the NFL anthem protests sparked by former San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick’s desire to inspire a national debate about social and economic oppression, discrimination and police brutality in America. 

Eric Reid is one of the best safeties in the game, but he was one of the leading faces of the NFL protest movement and with him still being unsigned at this point, its clear that he is being blackballed as well because of his political and social beliefs. Its just downright un-American, but its happening right in front of our eyes. 

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Cincinnati Bengals giving Eric Reid a sniff, but we’ve been down this road. Kaepernick visited the Seattle Seahawks/Baltimore Ravens. No deals. Also, this may be a ploy to reduce the credibility of Kap’s collusion argument. Still, hope Reid gets a deal. https://t.co/GyeTsuYHjC

Reid, 26, began kneeling during the national anthem with Kaepernick in the 2016 season to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Kaepernick became a free agent after that season and has not been signed to a team since. Reid continued his protest and even went against the grain by denouncing his affiliation with the Player’s Coalition, which made him an uncontrollable militant renegade in the eyes of the owners and would cost them money in the long run.  


Reid was thought to have found a home with Marvin Lewis and the Cincinnati Bengals but reportedly owner Mike Brown asked safety Eric Reid about his protests during the national anthem in the past and said he planned to ban Bengals players from participating in them in the future during Reid’s free-agent visit with the team, according to Mike Florio of Profootballtalk.


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Per @ProFootballTalk, the Bengals owner asked Eric Reid about Anthem kneeling, with plans on prohibiting it. No word on what he asks of his players who have committed actual crimes. https://t.co/AWzTJWSlLZ

Florio wrote:

“Brown, according to the source, initiated discussion regarding the issue of kneeling during the anthem. The conversation almost exclusively centered on the topic, with Brown explaining that he intends to prohibit itand with Brown at one point asking Reid for his response.


“Reid, caught off guard by the line of questioning, wasn’t willing to make a commitment on the spot. Last month, Reid said he’s currently not planning to kneel or otherwise demonstrate during the anthem. But Reid, who is considering other options for bringing attention to societal issues he considers to be important, hasn’t made any final decisions, and he wasn’t willing to do so at the direct request and behest of Brown.”

NFL players should be pissed off about this report. The owners’ indifference towards the magnitude of the issues that sparked the anthem protests in the first place is revealing. Their refusal to relinquish a system of corporate oppression that has long been the fabric of big-time sports and business in this country for so long is sickening. 


Players Coalition head Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins suspects Reid would already be signed were it not for his protests in the past, per Bleacher Report.

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“It would be hard to say that he’s not getting any calls just on talent alone. I think any team that is considering him is going to weigh his political views and the strong stance that he’s taken the last couple years, and that’s unfortunate, but it’s just kind of what it is. So hopefully, teams will look past that and evaluate him as a player, and I think as a player he deserves a spot in this league. But I’d be kidding myself if I said that his stance isn’t playing a role in him not having a call yet.”

Thats no revelation, it’s just sad that after all of the drama and turmoil and the sacrifices made by Kaepernick, some owners are still deciding to try and strongarm players into abandoning their social duties so owners can line their pockets with more green.  

The way owners such as Brown and Texans owner Bob McNair are still going about this should only lead to more protests because cops are still murdering unarmed black youth, players who used their celebrity platforms to improve conditions in the world for people of color and other minority groups are blatantly being kept out the league and to make it even worse, owners are rubbing it in and still talking hella trash about banning protests as if that will make a difference. 

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Bob McNair’s “inmate” comment exemplifies why players take a knee: https://t.co/nsR9QJuN8p



When did banning a protest ever make a difference in whether or not a person would do it? The nature of protests is to make oppressors feel uncomfortable and disrupt the workplace enough to instigate change. Change that’s apparently a long ways away in a league that still hasnt seen an African-American owner break its ranks. If there was one, Kaepernick and Reid would probably be signed right now. 


A scary thought isn’t it?

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The Deputy Editor and Senior Writer is in his 23rd year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, magazines and national TV.

His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.