Both On And Off The Field Ed Reed Has Always Been Real

Colin Kaepernick has been blackballed by NFL owners for his political beliefs, however, his message of fighting social injustice, racism and police brutality against people of color won’t be forgotten just because he’s gone and 99 percent of current NFL players have “unofficially” agreed to stop kneeling.

Recently inducted Hall of Famer Ed Reed made a huge statement and probably made some people feel uncomfortable when he wore a shirt displaying black victims of police brutality during the NFL Hall of Fame Game on Thursday night.

The Baltimore Ravens legend walked onto the field during the NFL exhibition game wearing a t-shirt with pictures of Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland and Eric Garner, among others. Reed used his platform in front of millions of people to draw a line in the sand and openly support the victims of police brutality, bringing the NFL spotlight back onto issues that white owners wish would just go away. 

It’s the owners’ dismissive attitude and society’s hesitance to do the right thing that keeps players of color in their protest bag, continuing to facilitate change.

Kaepernick may be a fading memory to NFL owners but recently inducted Black Hall of Fame players have used their platform to continue Kap’s mission because unfortunately not much has changed as far as police brutality and society’s attempt to devalue the lives of people of color is concerned.  

Panthers safety Eric Reid says he will continue to kneel for the anthem, recently stating, “If a day comes that I feel like we’ve addressed those issues, and our people aren’t being discriminated against or being killed over traffic violations, then I’ll decide it’s time to stop protesting,” said Reid. “I haven’t seen that happen.”

OG Ed’s choice of attire made a powerful statement, similar to when Randy Moss wore a tie with the names of the many black victims of police brutality and murder at his HOF induction. Both men symbolized everything that continues to be wrong with this country as it relates to people fo color, using a single article of clothing.  

As Garner’s family waits to see if the cop who killed him in cold blood will be allowed back on the NYPD, having already dodged any criminal punishment, it only reminds us of the many victims of racism, bigotry and police violence. 

The messages sent by Ed Reed, Moss and other former players is another method of crying out for criminal justice reform, supporting the forgotten families of these victims of senseless police violence and keeping their deaths fresh in our minds so that we don’t veer too far from the path of awareness, social responsibility, and positive reconstruction that Kapernick was leading us on. 

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, 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.