Former San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid hasn’t been signed by any team since becoming a free agent this offseason, causing he may be getting blacklisted by the NFL like his friend and former teammate, Colin Kaepernick.
San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold, left, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, center, and safety Eric Reid kneel during the national anthem in 2016. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Reid, 26, was the very first player to join Kaepernick in kneeling during the National Anthem in protest of police brutality and racism. Kaepernick initially remained seated during the playing of the anthem during a preseason game in September 2016; Reid was instrumental in convincing Kaepernick to kneel instead, as a sign of respect to the U.S. military.
Now Reid believes his kneeling is keeping him from being signed as a free agent, just as Kaepernick alleged after going the entire 2017 season without being picked up by a team.
“The notion that I can be a great signing for your team for cheap, not because of my skill set but because I’ve protested systemic oppression, is ludicrous. If you think is, then your mindset is part of the problem too,” Reid tweeted March 15.
At just 26-year-old, Reid has already been to a Pro Bowl and is in the prime of his career, so the speculation revolving around his unemployment is valid. Like Kaepernick, Reid may have rubbed NFL ownership the wrong way, which could be why he hasn’t been offered a spot on a team.
Reid shook up headlines back in November 2017 when he publicly left the Players Coalition, an organization made up by a group of NFL players looking to be active in social reform. Reid told reporters he was leaving because he didn’t like how the group’s leader, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcom Jenkins, was handling negotiations with the NFL.
Jenkins and the Coalition ended up negotiating a deal for the league to donate $89 million over seven years towards social reform. But Reid said the deal was no good, as it would allow NFL owners to simply shift money that was already allocated for other significant charitable programs, such as Breast Cancer Awareness and other awareness campaigns.
“So it would really be no skin off the owners’ backs: They would just move the money from those programs to this one,” Reid told Slate. “We didn’t agree with that, because we weren’t trying to cut other worthy programs. They moved forward anyways.
“ Roger Goodell is trying to make this as easy for the owners to agree to as possible so that—again, their goal is to end the protests,” Reid continued. “He’s trying to make it as easy possible to do that for the owners. He’s going to present them with a proposal saying, ‘Look you really don’t have to do anything. We’re just going to shift this money from this area and just move it here.’”