Former San Francisco 49ers and Pro Bowl safety Eric Reid is still without a job. On Wednesday Reid, the first player to take a knee alongside his then-teammate Colin Kaepernick to protest the killings of unarmed African-American men, women and children, filed a collusion grievance against the NFL.
For all the naysayers who have all the reasons under the sun as to why former quarterback Kaepernick has yet to be given an opportunity to even compete for a position, I’ve yet to hear one solid argument for why Reid remains unemployed.
“Reid is working with attorney Mark Geragos, who also represented his former teammate, Colin Kaepernick, in the quarterback’s collusion grievance against the league,” ESPN reports.
The claims made in Reid’s grievance are reportedly similar to those made by Kaepernick.
“Our union is aware that Eric Reid and his legal representatives filed a collusion claim, which will be heard through the arbitration process as spelled out in our collective bargaining agreement,” the NFL Players Association said in a statement Wednesday, ESPN reports. “Our union supports Eric and we are considering other legal options to pursue.”
Reid, 26, became a free agent in March when his rookie contract with the 49ers expired. Reid’s stance on police brutality and racial inequality has been unwavering. The NFL is going to have a hard case to make for Reid’s unemployed status. Not only is Reid still in his prime, but he’s also one of the best players at his position.
Reid has also been very vocal about his protest stance, noting that during the offseason, he hadn’t received any interest from teams because of his unwillingness to commit to not protesting again.
The Cincinnati Bengals invited Reid out for a meeting, only to ask him about his protest and whether or not he planned to kneel once the new season began. During a meeting with Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, Reid was reportedly asked if he wanted to clear up anything that he’d said to ownership about his kneeling protest. Reid noted that he did not, and the Bengals did not offer Reid a contract.
That’s the only team that has hosted Reid for a free agent visit this offseason.
We all know what’s going on here. A 26-year-old Pro Bowl-level NFL talent shouldn’t be jobless—unless, of course, he doesn’t want people who look like him to be killed by police. That’s a bridge too far for the NFL, the current home of several players who have been accused and/or convicted of actual crimes.