NFL player Eric Reid explained why anthem protests were worth the risk, even though they kept him out of football for six months.
Reid was one of the first players to kneel during the anthem when he joined then teammate Colin Kaepernick as a member of the San Francisco 49ers in 2016. But he became a free agent in 2018 and no team signed him for six months.
He finally signed with the Carolina Panthers on September 27. Wearing an #IMWITHKAP t-shirt at his first press conference, Reid was asked why he felt compelling to continue his activism.
“Next year will be 2019. It will mark 400 years since the first slaves touched the soil of this country. That’s 400 years of systemic oppression. That’s slavery, Jim Crow, new Jim Crow, mass incarceration, you name it,” he stated. “So this has been happening since my people have gotten here. And so, I just felt the need to say something about it.”
Unlike previous teams that were interested in signing him, Reid said that the Panthers didn’t ask him questions about whether or not he plans to continue protesting in the future. We’ll find out if he does October 7 when Carolina plays the New York Giants.