On Thursday, Eric Reid signed with the Carolina Panthers. His former team, the San Francisco 49ers did not resign him in the offseason, most likely due to his issues with the NFL and his kneeling protests. Reid will take the place of Da’Norris Searcy, who is now on injured reserve with a concussion.
Reid was the first person to kneel beside Colin Kaepernick during the National Anthem. Like Kaepernick, Reid filed a grievance via the NFLPA towards the NFL. The players both claimed that the higher powers of the NFL, under the influence of Donald Trump and the reputation of their franchises, colluded to keep them out of the game. Kaepernick tweeted to celebrate his former teammate’s signing:
Congrats 2 my brother @e_reid35, all pro safety who should have been signed the 1st day of free agency, who has signed a football contract.
He was the 1ST person 2 kneel alongside me. Eric is a social justice warrior, continues to support his family. and communities in need. pic.twitter.com/TsZOaFycYT
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 27, 2018
Reid’s new Panthers teammate, wide receiver Torrey Smith, said that “I really hope he gets a shot. He deserves it and it’s not right what’s happened to him.” And Justin Reid, Houston Texans safety stated that he’s proud of Eric and “Immensely proud of what all the guys have done that are trying to have a voice for the voiceless.”
Marty Hurney, the Pathers’ general manager stated, “We made this decision based on the fact he’s a good football player… He’s played at a very high level the last few years. We think he can come in and help us win games.”
It is inspiring to see that the Panthers will still sign him aside from his political stances. Fear of stigma and threatening their careers most likely is a barrier for athletes to stand up for what they believe in.
The Panthers are now 2-1. They play the New York Giants on October 7th at home. They have been playing on a three-man safety rotation of Mike Adams, Colin Jones, and rookie Rashaan Gaulden. Maybe Torrey Smith will be able to make an impact on the field at this early point in the season.