Eric Reid: Apologetically BLACK. : ThyBlackMan

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Eric Reid: Apologetically BLACK.

November 6, 2018 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Sports, Weekly Columns

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( Since Colin Kaepernick is not on the sidelines of an actual NFL field this season, the current NFL player who most represents what Kaepernick was pushing for in 2016 is Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid. After seemingly being blackballed by the NFL this summer by NFL teams and owners, Reid was finally signed by the Panthers in late September. Last year, he had previously filed an official grievance letter with the NFL alleging that team owners and the league had colluded to prevent his employment due to his protesting during the national anthem. The one thing is certain about Eric Reid’s return to the NFL is that Reid is going to be vocal and authentic about his blackness while pulling no punches about social issues.

During his introductory press conference, Eric Reid displayed multiple levels of being unafraid of being socially outspoken. He wore an “#IMWITHKAP” T-shirt, while speaking with media members, which is a T-shirt that shows support for Kaepernick and his stances against police brutality and injustices against black people. However, what Reid said during his first press conference was an even more important message. When he was asked about his strong social stances on and off the football field, Reid replied, “I’ll put it this way – next year will be 2019. It will mark 400 years since the first slaves touched the soil in this country. That’s 400 years of systemic oppression.

That’s slavery, Jim Crow, New Jim Crow, mass incarceration – you name it. The Great Depression, they come out with the New Deal. Black people didn’t have access to those government stimulus packages. The New Deal set up what is known as the modern day middle class. We didn’t have access to those programs – the G.I. Bill, Social Security, home loans, none of that. So this has been happening since my people have gotten here. So I just felt the need to say something about it.”

Most athletes do not discuss U.S. history during their first press conference with a new team but Eric Reid isn’t most athletes and he thought it was important to drop critical knowledge about the incredible historical injustices black people have faced in America. Reid also had one of the biggest pregame confrontations of the NFL season when he confronted Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, who is the head of the Players’ Coalition that has worked with the NFL. The Players’ Coalition “exists to end social injustices and racial inequality so future generations have opportunity to thrive without barriers”. Reid confronted Jenkins on the football field prior to the Eagles and Panthers game and had to be separated by teammates. After the game, Reid had strong comments in calling Jenkins a “neo-colonialist” and also said that, “I believe Malcolm capitalized on the situation. He co-opted the movement that was started by Colin to get his organization funded. It’s cowardly. He sold us out.”

Most importantly, Eric Reid has been carrying on his protesting during the national anthem by kneeling and voicing the message behind it. There are not many NFL players kneeling during the national anthem anymore but Reid doesn’t appear to be ending his protest anytime soon even if his head coach, Ron Rivera, has an issue with it. Regarding whether his head coach supported his protesting, Reid replied, “Very respectfully, he doesn’t have a choice. He’s entitled to his opinion, but I know what my rights are. His family was a military family much like many of my people were in the military. My cousin just got back from Afghanistan. My mom was in the armed services. My uncle was enlisted. The list goes on. But when they get home they’re still black in America. They’re going to fight the same wars when they get home and still face the same things I’m talking about. So I get encouragement from my family that served in the armed forces because they agree with what I’m saying.”

Staff Writer; Mark Hines

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