Unsigned free agent Eric Reid, who knelt beside trend-setting teammate Colin Kaepernick during the national anthem in pre-game ceremonies, has filed a grievance against the National Football League.
According to Pro Football Talk, Reid claims that the league as an entity is engaging in collusion (i.e., a coordinated effort) to prevent him from getting a job because of his activism. The San Francisco 49ers selected Reid out of Louisiana State University in the first round (18th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft. His rookie contract with the 49ers concluded in March, and he has been job hunting since then. He is supposedly being represented by Kaepernick’s attorney. Kaepernick, the ex-49ers QB, famously went unsigned last season and is still unemployed.
In a statement, the NFL players union said that it is supporting Eric Reid’s collusion claim and that will head to arbitration under the collective bargaining agreement. Most of the NFL players, though, who took a knee during the Star-Spangled Banner in the past two seasons are still on NFL rosters.
“He was one of the first players to join Kaepernick two years ago in kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality,” ESPN recalled. Reid has continued to be outspoken about social issues. He reportedly interviewed with the Cincinnati Bengals in April but declined to say whether his on-field protest would continue into the 2018-2019 season.
The ongoing NFL drama again came up for discussion on Speak For Yourself, the hour-long program co-hosted by sports journalists/personalities Jason Whitlock and Colin Cowherd, which airs on the FS1 television channel at 5 p.m. Eastern time. Describing himself as a non-voting hardcore moderate, Whitlock has been a vocal critic of the national anthem protests, which he has argued has been co-opted by the social justice movement and the virtue-signaling liberal sports media.
On last night’s broadcast, Whitlock claimed that the NFL is a made-for-television product, and as such, anybody in that scenario could be out of a job by going off script.
He also asserted that the platform belongs to the people running the league — who want to keep politics out of the content — rather than the players, who are being deluded by the social justice cohort
“NFL players, coaches, broadcasters love to say it’s a privilege to play in the NFL, and not a right. And then as soon as you don’t get a job, you feel entitled [to a job]…it’s not your right. As I’ve explained a million times, it’s a television show, and if you decide to go off script in way that television producers and the networks [say] — ‘hey, that’s not part of our script,’ and they descide to write you out of their script, don’t come whining to me, don’t come complaining. It’s a television show; that’s all it is. Everybody has been convinced because a group of liberals have said ‘it’s your platform” — no, it’s their platform…”
Jason Whitlock implied that Reid and other similarly situated players are sabotaging their gridiron careers in exchange for Twitter applause and the equivalent.
“His first comment about this…was ‘they think they can get me for cheap because I was part of the protest.’ This is about money and expectations. He’s not getting the kind of financial offers he wanted, and then — because he’s played things too far to the extreme — and his expectations are too high…he has a group of people clapping as he lights himself on fire, throws away his financial future…same thing they’re telling Kaepernick as they light their careers and millions of dollars on fire, money they could have used to support the cause they believe in.”
The notion that I can be a great signing for your team for cheap, not because of my skill set but because I’ve protested systemic oppression, is ludicrous. If you think is, then your mindset is part of the problem too.
— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) March 15, 2018
Co-host Cowherd chimed in that the players have many venues and outlets for which express their political views outside of a three-hour, one-day a week NFL game, prompting Whitlock to make this observation about how, in his view, the players have been led astray.
“Because they’ve been lied to by an agenda that is after football and is trying to change sports culture, and they’ve been lied to and they believe the lie. That the three hours when they earn their money is the time to actually burn down your neighborhood and your business….destroy your career, destroy your financial future ‘for the cause.'”
Cowherd’s premise was off the mark to some degree by asserting that actors and musicians never use their art to advance a political or social agenda.
The panel reached a consensus that every employee regardless of industry has to abide by certain work rules while they’re on the clock, but NFL players seem to think or have become convinced that they’re above that. Last month, Whitlock similarly opined that he blamed outside influencers who are providing bad advice, rather than Colin Kaepernick himself, for a canceled Seattle Seahawks workout.
Parenthetically, reports have emerged that Cowherd may exit Speak For Yourself to concentrate more on his other roles at Fox Sports. Whitlock could anchor the show solo instead of bringing on a new partner. SFY may also expand to two hours.
Listen to Jason Whitlock discuss the Eric Reid collusion grievance (starting at about the 14-minute mark) in the clip embedded below and draw your own conclusions.