Eric Reid still has a collusion grievance filed against the NFL, but he was awarded another chance to play. The new Carolina Panthers safety started during his first game back, too, but his kneeling during the national anthem completely overshadowed his return Sunday afternoon.
As one of the original national anthem protestors — the first to kneel alongside free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick as teammates with the San Francisco 49ers — Reid finished with three tackles in Carolina’s 33-31 win over the New York Giants at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. Yet, it was his kneeling that certainly got the most attention, including from Kaepernick.
Reid, the former first-round draft pick from LSU in 2013, signed a one-year deal with the Panthers on September 27, a move that was strictly a “football decision” to bring in one of the top free agent safeties. This was always a possibility, though, that he would demonstrate during the anthem by taking a knee, and he most certainly did.
“My brother [Eric Reid], with [Kenny Stills] and [Albert Wilson], continue to take a knee against systematic oppression. They are unwavering in their conviction #ImWithReid” — Colin Kaepernick
Safety Eric Reid finished the game with 48 snaps, which was 86 percent of defensive snaps, according to Carolina Panthers beat writer Max Henson, but none were as significant as the kneel protesting against social injustice, racial inequality and police brutality or perhaps even walking off the field with his right fist raised.
When asked about his return, Reid said it was “bittersweet.” He was obviously happy to be playing football again, but certainly wished Kaepernick could have played on Sunday as well instead of being at home with his kids.
The anthem protests haven’t been relatively quiet in the NFL this season, which is refreshing to many. However, with Reid back on the field, there’s a strong chance it isn’t going away and will be as loud as ever.