The Anti-American anthem protests spiraled out of control in 2017.
They alienated patriotic fans, scared away advertising revenue, and tarnished the image of the NFL.
Now one anthem protester is changing his tune after a sobering dose of reality.
Free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the pied piper of the anti-American movement.
Even though defenders claimed his protest wasn’t a show of disrespect to the military or the flag, Kaepernick’s words said the opposite: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color.”
Kaepernick’s stance couldn’t be any clearer. Neither could former teammate Eric Reid’s, who was the first player to kneel in solidarity with his comrade.
Reid took a militant view, even criticizing fellow protester Malcolm Jenkins because of the $89 million deal he negotiated with league owners.
However Reid, currently a free agent, is beginning to panic because no team has made overtures to sign him. In light of that fact, Reid says he will now stand for the anthem next season.
Last week, former 49er safety and noted anthem protester Eric Reid, said that he felt his protests were hurting his chances of landing a job.
He further said that if any NFL owners out there had a problem with him standing up against “systematic oppression,” that their “mindset is part of the problem too.”
This week, Eric Reid is singing an entirely different tune.
Reid, who was the first of Colin Kaepernick’s teammates to join him in kneeling during the national anthem, says he will not protest the national anthem if he’s signed to a roster in 2018.
“I’m just going to consider different ways to be active, different ways to bring awareness to the issues of this country to improve on,” Reid told Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. “I don’t think it’ll be in the form of protesting during the anthem. And I said ‘during’ because it’s crazy to me that the narrative got changed to we were protesting the anthem, because that wasn’t the case. But I think we’re going to take a different approach to how to be active.”
Reid’s about face on the issue should come as no surprise. Without the robust social justice backing that Colin Kaepernick has received as the face of the protest movement, Reid needs football a lot more than Kaepernick does.
…With the very real likelihood of not collecting an NFL paycheck looming over his head, it seems Reid has decided that the struggle has become a bit too real.
The reality that Kaepernick and Reid fail to understand is that playing in the NFL is a privilege, not a right.
Teams don’t want to deal with controversial figures that subtly and overtly badmouth owners, coaches, and fellow players in a public forum, tactics both Kaepernick and Reid have employed.
Perhaps Reid is beginning to grasp the concept that disrespecting the country while on the clock has workplace consequences.