Eric Reid, first player to kneel with Kaepernick, ends spell in NFL wilderness
Eric Reid, the first NFL player to join Colin Kaepernicks protest against racial injustice in the United States, has signed with the Carolina Panthers
Eric Reid, the first NFL player to join Colin Kaepernicks protest against racial injustice in the United States, has signed with the Carolina Panthers. In May, Reid filed a collusion grievance against the NFL alleging he has been kept out of the league due to his political stance.
Reids deal with the San Francisco 49ers expired in March, and on playing ability alone he would have been expected to have found a new team quickly: in 2013 he was named to the Pro Bowl as a rookie after being drafted in the first round and has had a solid career since. Reid believed that, like Kaepernick, he was unemployed due to his political views. The notion that I can be a great signing for your team for cheap, not because of my skill set but because Ive protested systemic oppression, is ludicrous. If you think [it] is, then your mindset is part of the problem too, Reid wrote on Twitter earlier this year.
Kaepernick offered his congratulations to Reid on Twitter shortly after the news broke. Congrats 2 my brother
@e_reid35, all pro safety who should have been signed the 1st day of free agency, who has signed a football contract, wrote Kaepernick. He was the 1ST person 2 kneel alongside me. Eric is a social justice warrior, continues to support his family. and communities in need.
The Panthers are in need of help at safety after DaNorris Searcy was placed on injured reserve due to a concussion. We made this decision based on the fact hes a good football player, the Panthers general manager, Marty Hurney, told ESPN. Hes played at a very high level the last few years. We think he can come in and help us win games.
Reid started to kneel alongside Kaepernick in 2016 after consulting with former NFL player and military veteran Nate Boyer on how they could protest respectfully. He then knelt during the anthem for the entire season. He planned to stand for the anthem during the 2017 season but knelt again after the violent far-right protests in Charlottesville in August of that year. Kaepernick is still without a team, and has not played in the league since the final game of the 2016 season.
The Panthers are on a bye week, and their next game is against the New York Giants on 7 October.