There are many big names in football, and even more in politics. Despite how often those are both in the spotlight, it’s rare to find someone whose actions deem them worthy of stardom in both worlds. That’s where Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid find themselves, standing or kneeling for something they believe in and suffering the consequences.
Along with Kaepernick, Reid claims he was blacklisted from the NFL because of his protests against police violence and for social injustice. When Reid’s contract was up with the 49ers in 2017, he went through a period of being unsigned. While the former San Francisco 49ers player wasn’t in the spotlight like his teammate Kaepernick, he still felt he was suffering the same discrimination from the NFL. Reid went as far as to open up a collusion case against the league, stating that they and their team owners had colluded against him due to his protests during the national anthem.
For this reason, it was shocking to many and a relief to some when the Carolina Panthers signed Reid as a safety on September 27.
“It actually came faster than I thought, but I’m happy to be on the field again,” said Reid during a press conference earlier this month, where he was wearing a “#IMWITHKAP” shirt to show his continued partnership.
But just because Reid now knows the cost of protest first hand doesn’t mean he’s done. In the first game of the 2018 season, and Reid’s first game with the Panthers, he continued his protest against police violence in America by kneeling during the national anthem.
Along with his most recent public protest, Reid continues to work with Kaepernick towards goals of social justice and change.
“We’re going to continue to hold America to the standard that it says on paper, that we’re all created equal, because it’s not that way right now.” said Reid during a press conference. While he did answer many questions regarding his previous protests, at the time Reid neglected to confirm or deny whether he would kneel during the Panthers’ coming season.
Reid said during the same press conference that his protests come from a long history of oppression, which drives much of his motivation for change.
“I’ll put it this way. Next year will be 2019. It’ll mark four hundred years since the first slaves touched the soil in this country. That’s four hundred years of systemic oppression, that’s slavery, Jim Crow, New Jim Crow, mass incarceration, you name it… This has been happening since my people have gotten here. And so I just felt the need to say something about it.”
By Madeline Brooks, Satire Editor