The photograph of Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem after the police shootings of Terence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott in September 2016 is now iconic. Four years later, the NFL commissioner has apologized for not listening to Kaepernick, and the former quarterback is being included as a player in Madden 2021.
But kneeling right next to him is another, perhaps lesser known player: c.
A first-round safety for the 49ers who played in the 2014 Pro-Bowl, Reid knelt alongside Kaepernick. He continued to play in the league after being signed by the Carolina Panthers in 2018 — where he was the first Panthers player to ever take a knee before the game — before he was released this March.
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But he wasn't spared from the backlash and joined Kaepernick in filing separate grievances alleging that team owners and the league colluded to prevent their employment due to their protest activities. Although the matter has since been settled out of court, Reid remains unemployed as a free agent.
Now, Kaepernick is coming to his defense, accusing the league of hypocrisy for their performative display of support for the Black Lives Matter movement while allegedly blackballing Reid.
While the NFL runs propaganda about how they care about Black Life, they are still actively blackballing Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) for fighting for the Black community. Eric set 2 franchise records last year, and is one of the best defensive players in the league. https://t.co/KQXTaOCcnU— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 13, 2020
“My agents have been in communications with teams daily, but there have been no developments,” Reid told Deadspin, whose article Kaepernick shared on Twitter.
In the wake of protests after the police killing of George Floyd in May, the NFL has joined other professional sports leagues in pivoting toward the Black Lives Matter movement. For the first week of the upcoming season, the song known as the Black national anthem, "Lift Ev'ry Voice And Sing," will be performed live or played before the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
But Kaepernick called such actions “propaganda” and Reid said the league’s actions are “half-hearted at best.”
1/2 What the @NFL is doing is half-hearted at best. @nflcommish has gotten comfortable saying he “was wrong” as if his mere acknowledgement reconciles his admitted wrongdoing. He hasn’t even called Colin to apologize, let alone reconcile, proving this is only PR for the current— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) September 14, 2020
Even before he was let go, Reid suggested he was targeted by the Panthers through drug testing.
“I’ve been here 11 weeks, I’ve been drug-tested seven times,” Reid said at the time. “That has to be statistically impossible. I’m not a mathematician, but there’s no way that’s random.”
Eric Reid has been randomly drug tested 7 times in 11 weeks.— The Riot Report (@RRiotReport) December 18, 2018
You can’t see the air quotes he put around randomly. pic.twitter.com/G40m4gQSO3
According to Yahoo! Sports, the probability of Reid getting randomly selected at least six times in 11 chances, according to the NFL’s rules, was 0.17 percent, or 1-in-588. A joint investigation by the NFL and NFL Players Association found no evidence Reid was targeted.
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