The Carolina Panthers have signed free agent safety Eric Reid to a one year contract. Reid became a free agent this past offseason after starting 12 of 13 games for the 49ers. Which makes you wonder why the 49ers are parting ways with him? Well, Reid is currently involved in a lawsuit against the NFL. That in itself isn’t a reason to send Reid packing, but the lawsuit does allege that the team owners, as well as the league, were influenced by Donald Trump. Reid joined former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016 in kneeling during the national anthem in order to protest racial inequality and police brutality. From there the NFLPA filed a grievance with the NFL on Reid’s behalf and that sort of brings this whole thing full circle.
Kaepernick congratulated his former teammate and fellow “social justice warrior” after Reid was signed by the Panthers, but he added that Reid “should have been signed the 1st day of free agency”. Reid was picked up by the Panthers after starting safety Da’Norris Searcy was placed on injured reserve due to a concussion. Which meant, the team needed someone to take over the safety position. The team has said that their conversations with Reid were strictly football related, as his ongoing legal battle does not impact his ability to play this season. And it shouldn’t. What’s happening between Reid and the NFL, or Kaepernick and the NFL does not impact his ability to play.
But that’s the problem – dissenters are typically never rewarded for upending the status quo, and this is no different in the NFL. Of course, this has been the case for Kaepernick, and in fact, the center of a Nike advertisement. But it shouldn’t be this way. In my office, we have a whistleblower policy, but I guarantee you that if you ever came forward with some kind of complaint, you would be put on the “do not promote” list. And why is this the case?
I’d like to think that we’re a more advanced and even civilized society. But that’s not the case. For some reason, society doesn’t like to see people rocking the boat because it jeopardizes whatever they have going for them. Some people might be against the NFL protests, and use the guise of disrespecting the military as a way to justify their feelings. But the true reason they’re against it is that of what this could do to the NFL.
If there are a ton of owners who are found to be acting out of line, it could change the way that the NFL is portrayed on TV. No one wants to see the NFL go, or even be changed in any way. So instead of penalizing the system that allows things to go awry, society says – get rid of the troublemakers. Which doesn’t solve the problem – it only kicks it down the road a few months or years.
Regardless, the Panthers have found a great addition to their team. Reid, who is 26, played five seasons with the San Francisco 49ers after being selected by the team in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft. The Louisiana State product tallied a total of 375 tackles, 10 interceptions, 34 passes defended, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries throughout his time in San Francisco.