Panthers defensive back Eric Reid had a little bone to pick entering Carolina’s Week 7 match-up against Philadelphia on Sunday, October 21, and he wasted little time before stepping up to Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins to get it off of his chest. According to NFL Network, the issue at hand was Jenkins’ decision to resign his protest of the national anthem in cooperation with the NFL’s less confronting means of addressing social inequality.
Sunday’s contest will inevitably be remembered for how the Panthers staged a 21-point fourth-quarter comeback to upset the defending champion Eagles. But in being effectively shut out prior to their late-game rally, it appeared that the drama that ensued between Reid and Jenkins might have been in the running to steal headlines in the Carolinas. The altercation was a visible one for fans in the crowd, with Reid marching onto Lincoln Financial Field during the pre-game coin flip and being restrained by officials as he came within proximity of Jenkins.
During his post-game presser with reporters, the former teammate of Colin Kaepernick confirmed that his chat with Jenkins did indeed involve the handling of the protest movement on his counterpart’s end.
“He’s a sellout […] He was corrupt from the jump. He knew what he was doing from the offset. His goal was to sell us out, and he did that,” Reid said of Jenkins.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero has taken to Twitter to reveal that during an interview with Reid, it was conveyed that to his determination the once heavily outspoken Jenkins betrayed the movement for his own interests.
“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,” Pelissero quotes him as saying.
Jenkins refused to hit back at Reid during his own conference with the media, but Bleacher Report senior writer Master Tesfatsion has been circulating a tweet that cites Jenkins as saying, “You couldn’t pay me to say anything negative about them.”
Fans will recall that the NFL invited protesters to meet them at the table last year in an effort to negotiate a plan that might get executives to work in solidarity with their cause in exchange for a vow from players that they would no longer take a knee during the “Star Spangled Banner.” As ESPN reported at the time, the proposal offered a contribution of $100 million to various initiatives championed by Jenkins, Anquan Boldin, and the likes. But not everyone who had positioned themselves in alignment with Kaepernick saw the venture as one that was sufficient enough to address the marginalization of African-Americans at a systemic level.
Among those who refused the proposition were the New York Giants’ Michael Thomas, the Dolphins’ Kenny Stills, Russell Okung of the L.A. Chargers, and Reid, according to The Undefeated.