Popular Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid told The Charlotte Observer on Sunday that he has no plans to stop kneeling during the playing of the national anthem in the 2019 NFL season.
Reid was among the first players in the league to take part in the controversial protest while he was a member of the San Francisco 49ers, joining then-quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who officially became the first NFL player to kneel during the anthem.
The 27-year-old Panthers defensive back hasn’t ruled out ending the kneeling protest but said he’ll only do so when he feels that issues revolving around racial justice are addressed and show progress.
“If a day comes that I feel like we’ve addressed those issues, and our people aren’t being discriminated against or being killed over traffic violations, then I’ll decide it’s time to stop protesting,” Reid said. “I haven’t seen that happen.”
Based on Reid’s current thoughts on racial injustice issues, he has felt the need to continue his protest due to a lack of progress. Doubling down, he said that he feels as though the same issues are still happening but in slightly different ways.
“You’d like to think we’re past certain things, the way we treat people,” he said. “I thought we were at a time where you love your neighbor as yourself. But as I’ve studied history — it hasn’t repeated itself necessarily, but it’s dressed a little different and is acting the same.”
According to The Hill, Reid entered free agency after the end of the 2017 NFL season and blamed the lack of interest from other teams at the time on his national anthem protests. He was later signed in 2018 by the Carolina Panthers and was the only player to kneel during “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the team’s first game of the season.
Shortly after Kaepernick filed a grievance against the league in 2017 alleging collusion with team owners to deny him a spot on a team, Reid followed suit with a similar grievance, using the same lawyer as Kaepernick.
The case eventually came to a close and in February 2019 the two players announced they’d reached a settlement with the NFL. Sports Illustrated reported that the settlement for both players was under $10 million, though exact numbers were never revealed due to a confidentiality agreement between the two players and the league.
Aside from perfecting defensive schemes for the Panthers as the 2019 season approaches, Reid is bound and determined to continue making waves to call attention to issues that matter to him.
“We’ve got to keep fighting,” Reid said. “Got to keep agitating. Got to keep making sure that we put pressure on the people who make the laws, and the decisions, in this country.”