In today’s current backwards climate, standing up for what’s right and taking a stand against unethical treatment can make you unable to get a job. That’s exactly the case for Erik Reid, who was the first to kneel alongside fellow NFL player Colin Kaepernick, and still remains unsigned to a team.
Back in 2016, Colin Kaepernick put NFL his career on the line and put his activism front and center when he decided to kneel in protest during the national anthem at football games. The first player to kneel alongside him was former San Francisco 49er Erik Reid and as reported by Blavity, he continues to be unsigned to a team due to his protesting.
In a recent interview with ESPN, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said he believes [Erik] Reid isn’t getting offers from teams due in part to his activism. “…It would be hard to say that he’s not getting any calls just on talent alone,”Jenkins said. “I think any team that is considering him is going to weigh his political views and the strong stance that he’s taken the last couple years, and that’s unfortunate, but it’s just kind of what it is. So hopefully, teams will look past that and evaluate him as a player, and I think as a player he deserves a spot in this league. But I’d be kidding myself if I said that his stance isn’t playing a role in him not having a call yet.”
Jenkins’s viewpoint is certainly not an isolated one. Many people have boycotted the NFL for its unwillingness to sign Kaepernick following his activism and support for racial justice by kneeling during the national anthem. Now, as Reid remains a free agent, many have called out the NFL for seemingly punishing the former 49er for his activism.
Richard Sherman, who recently signed with the 49ers, reportedly said “legal action” could be taken if Reid remains unsigned. “We are concerned, because he played at a high level, made enough plays to be signed and to make his money,” Sherman said in a press conference according to CBS Sports. “There is concern there, because you’d think a player of his caliber would be picked up now.”
While it is extremely disheartening that both Kaepernick and Reid remain unsigned for standing up for a cause that continues to be a large part of the national conversation, Reid, for his part remains steadfast on his goal and lets his detractors know they won’t break him.
Reid recently commented on his free agent status and NFL owners on Twitter. “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,” he wrote. “If you think is, then your mindset is part of the problem too.”
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