“This was purely a football decision,” general manager Marty Hurney told CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora. “There were no conversations about anything other than football. Eric is a good football player who can help our team at safety.”
On Monday, Panthers players, including Reid, reported to work to prepare for their Week 5 game against the Giants. In his first press conference with his new team, Reid wore an #IMWITHKAP t-shirt, said he continues to work with his former 49ers teammate Colin Kaepernick, and feels as strong as ever on the reasons he began kneeling during the anthem: To protest social injustice.
“I’ll put it this way,” he said. “Next year will be 2019. It will mark 400 years since the first slave touched the soil in this country. That’s 400 years of systemic depression, that slavery, Jim Crow, new Jim Crow, mass incarceration, you name it … the Great Depression, they came out with a New Deal, black people didn’t have access to those government stimulus packages. … We didn’t have access to those programs, the GI Bill, Social Security, home loans, none of that. So this has been happening since my people have gotten here. So I just felt the need to say something about it.”
Reid didn’t offer any specifics about possible plans to protest now that he’s back in the NFL.
“I’m still evaluating the scope of our country, and I’ll make that decision later,” he said, via ESPN.com’s David Newton.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera, who grew up in a military family, said he and Reid spoke about how each of them felt about anthem protests; Rivera had made it clear that he wants his players to stand during the anthem though he has never mandated it.
“We feel good about who he is a young man and who we are as an organization,” Rivera told reporters. “Probably the biggest question he asked me really was, ‘What would you say your base fronts of coverage are?’ He just seemed ready to roll.”
Meanwhile, Reid has no plans to stick to sports.
“Nothing will change unless you talk about it, so we’ll continue to talk about it,” Reid explained. “We’ll continue to hold America to the standard it says on paper that we’re all created equal because it’s not that way right now. But we’re going to keep pushing towards that.”