Eric Reid, the player who first kneeled during the national anthem with Colin Kaepernick, has been signed by the Carolina Panthers. After two years of out of football, the safety has finally been picked up. He has famously been a part of Kaepernick’s legal battle against the NFL, in which the pair claimed that there was a conspiracy against them.
For the past two years, no team has wanted to touch Kaepernick and when Reid’s contract ended in March, no team has seemed interested in picking him up. According to the duo, it’s due to their political activism in speaking out against police brutality. But now that Reid has signed a contract and is returning to the NFL, the question is, has the league finally come around and might a team sign Kaepernick as well?
How Might This Affect Kaepernick?
No one around the league has mentioned any plans to sign Kaepernick. So, it is unclear if Reid signing with the Panthers signals a path back into football for Kaepernick. But the fact that Reid is now under contract may affect Kaepernick’s legal case. It may now be harder to claim that there is a conspiracy against the players.
In any case, Kaepernick is going ahead with the case. Three weeks into the season it seems unlikely that a team would ant to go for him now. Perhaps Kaepernick is going to known more for activism than for football. At least for the moment.
Why Balk At Signing Reid?
Reid has played well for San Francisco. He was selected for the Pro Bowl after his rookie season. He’s had good numbers since too. So the question has to be asked, if Reid is a good safety, why might a team wait this long to pick him up? There is no hard evidence of the conspiracy as of yet. But there are rumors that the owner of the Bengals, Mike Brown, talked to Reid about his future protest plans with Kaepernick. Perhaps there is something to Kaepernick’s claims after all.
How Did Reid End Up With Carolina?
Da’Norris Searcy was placed on injured reserve after getting a second concussion in a month. So Carolina was in need of an experienced safety. One of their wide receivers, Torrey Smith was very vocal about the team signing Reid. Smith is very outspoken about social issues in general and locked in on Reid. It’s likely that his voice along with Carolina’s great need for a safety lead to the team deciding to do what no other team seemed eager to do: pick up Eric Reid.
It’s hard to explain why no NFL team wants to sign a quarterback that played in two NFC championship games and one Super Bowl in his five seasons in the NFL. It’s hard to say whether Eric Reid entering back into the NFL might make teams more or less likely to pick up Kaepernick. But if Reid can be signed by a team, perhaps Kaepernick can too.