Eric Reid is currently in the prime of his NFL playing career at 28 years old, and the safety has been called one of the best free agents still unsigned as the season moves to the second week. So Colin Kaepernick says there’s only one reason that his friend hasn’t been picked up by a team yet: It’s because he’s being blackballed for fighting against racism and police brutality.
Kaepernick sent a tweet about Reid on Sunday, Sept. 13, while the NFL has been involving itself in social justice matters a lot more compared to years past. It was a change the league made after George Floyd died in May and sweeping protests began. Kaepernick also brought up that Reid set the Panthers’ record for most tackles and sacks by a safety last season.
“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,” tweeted Kaepernick. “Eric set 2 franchise records last year, and is one of the best defensive players in the league.”
Kaepernick and Reid played together for the San Francisco 49ers before Kaepernick opted out of his contract in 2016. The quarterback has accused team owners of colluding to keep him out of a job because he knelt for the pregame performances of the national anthem to protest racism.
Reid joined his former teammate’s protest by kneeling when they played together, and although Reid signed with the Carolina Panthers in 2018, he and Kaepernick filed a collusion suit against the NFL. It was announced last year that they settled for under $10 million, which was split between them.
In March of this year, ESPN ranked the NFL’s top 15 free agents, and Reid was listed sixth at that time. All of the players ahead of him on that list have already been signed to teams, which Reid briefly spoke about.
“My agents have been in communications with teams daily, but there have been no developments,” he told Deadspin.
Kaepernick’s tweet quickly sparked a lot of chatter on Twitter, with people writing about how upset they are that Reid still isn’t signed.
“This is corporate capitalism, eager to preach justice and equality; but never to practice it,” wrote someone under Kaepernick’s tweet.
“They keep talking about racism and social injustice while neglecting to own what they did to both of you and the stance they took three years ago that the field was no place for #BlacklivesStillMatter. It’s nauseating,” another person tweeted.
There were others who said that Black people have no business watching NFL games until Kaepernick and Reid are signed to teams.
“I quit watching and canceled my league pass with Direct TV until they place you on a team or in the league office. That’s how Black people should stand in solidarity with @Kaepernick7 and @E_Reid35,” someone tweeted.
On Sunday, Sept. 13, Reid responded to Deadspin’s tweet about possibly being blackballed and responded by tweeting, “Thank you.”
Reid also sent another tweet the following day and brought up Kaepernick, as well as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recently saying that he supports players speaking up against racism during the season.
“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,” wrote Reid. “He hasn’t even called Colin to apologize, let alone reconcile, proving this is only PR for the current.”