Former 49ers and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid responded to a handful of NFL teams on Twitter Tuesday, after various teams put up a #BlackoutTuesday post. The goal of the posts were to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement and protesters after the death of Minneapolis, Minnesota man George Floyd who was killed while in police custody on May 25.
However, Reid is not convinced that the posts are genuine, replying with statements about “blackballing” in reference to the similar grievances that he and Kaepernick filed that claimed that they were barred from joining new teams in the NFL after kneeling during the National Anthem during the 2016 season.
Reid replies with the Oxford definition of the word “hypocrisy,” stating his dissatisfaction with the 49ers over the way in which they’ve handled his and Kaepernick’s previous situations.
Reid’s Release, Grievance and Return
The former LSU safety was drafted by the 49ers with the 18th overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, and proceeded to make his first and only Pro Bowl in 2014, totaling four interceptions and eleven passes defended.
In 2016, Reid joined Kaepernick by kneeling during the National Anthem. While Kaepernick was released the following offseason, Reid remained with the 49ers until after the 2017 season when he became a free agent.
The safety filed his grievance on May 7 of 2018 after remaining unsigned for a handful of months since his contract ended. The Panthers eventually signed Reid to a one-year deal in September 2018 after an injury to Da’Norris Searcy.
Carolina then signed Reid to a 3-year, $22 million deal, but cut him on March 18, 2020 of this year. He remains a free agent.
Response to Torrey Smith, Jed York
Reid’s tweets on Tuesday come after he responded to an assertion from former 49ers receiver Torrey Smith, who said that the team and CEO Jed York stood by Kaepernick.
Reid’s words and story is a start contrast from the experience that Smith details, which Reid says he understands.
Smith’s tweet is in response to a reply to York’s recent statement that the 49ers will be committing $1 million to social justice organizations, which he followed up with comments to NFL Network’s Jim Trotter.
“We need to continue work that Colin drew attention to four years ago in 2016, and we need to continue to let our players, first and foremost, know they have a voice to be able to speak out,” York said. “But we have to help them effectuate that change and get to a place where we have a better America.”
“We started some social justice work and using that term when Colin started his protest,” York said. “I think we’d always been working in this area but it was clear to label it social justice. … I think the piece that we missed in 2016, and it’s a fairly simple piece, I don’t know if anybody actually addressed what the issue was, and we’re trying to fight racism in this country… I think that’s what we need to clearly call out, and you can’t defeat something if you can’t admit that’s actually what you’re fighting.”
Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the San Francisco 49ers for Heavy.com and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, MT. Follow and reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier.