By Perry Green, AFRO Sports Editor
Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid kneeled during the national anthem prior to the Panthers’ matchup against the New York Giants, Oct. 7, reaffirming his position to continue using his platform as an NFL player to protest against police brutality, racism and other social injustices in this country.
It was the first game back in uniform for Reid, who was signed by Carolina nearly two weeks ago. Reid was the very first player to join Colin Kaepernick in kneeling, which he believes kept him from being picked up in free agency earlier this offseason. Both Reid and Kaepernick, who still remains unsigned by a team, have filed suits against the league, claiming owners have colluded to keep them out of the league because of their protest.
Reid told the media last week that he plans to go forward with his suit against the NFL; he explained to reporters after the game Sunday why he continued to kneel.
“This morning, I found out that the officer who killed Tamir Rice was rehired. I feel that’s unacceptable,” Reid said. “Kavanaugh was voted into the Supreme Court. That’s unacceptable. I feel our country is moving backwards. The only way to change that is to keep talking about it, keep raising awareness [and] keep doing what we’re doing.
“Everybody in this [locker room], everybody who watches this game [and] everybody in this country knows what we’re talking about. It’s the truth. You can’t deny it. We’ve just got to do more to make this better,” Reid continued. “People who don’t want things to change, people who want to maintain the status quo … they have to subvert. They have to distract. They have to redirect from what we’re trying to accomplish. We have to stay strong. We have to stay diligent.”
Reid also mentioned Kaepernick, his former San Francisco 49ers teammate, who pioneered the kneeling protest phenomenon that once swept over the entire league, inspiring hundreds of players to join in protest by kneeling during the playing of the anthem.
“[The Panthers’ win over New York] is bittersweet,” Reid said, according to CBS Sports. “I won the game, but Colin is at home with my kids. He should be playing.”
Kaepernick tweeted his support of Reid, and also mentioned Miami Dolphins receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson. Still, Wilson and Reid are the only players to have kneeled in protest so far this season.
“My Brother [Reid], with [Stills] and [Wilson] continue to take a knee against systemic oppression,” Kaepernick tweeted. “They are unwavering in their conviction! #ImWithReid.”