On Monday, Eric Reid held his first press conference since being signed by the Carolina Panthers. While much of the press conference centered on football and how he’ll help the team moving forward, there was a lot Reid was unable to talk about — a product of his outstanding lawsuit against the NFL for collusion.
Reid has continued working with Colin Kaepernick, his former teammate, and spoke about the work the pair have been doing since their absence from the NFL. Wearing a black t-shirt that read “#IMWITHKAP,” Reid said he was unable to be specific about any potential plans to protest during the national anthem. However, Reid said he’s contemplating other ways to continue to draw attention to the social issues that led to the initial protest.
“I said that I would be considering other ways, and I’m still considering.”
That could come as soon as this week. Head coach Ron Rivera said Reid will start against the Giants on Sunday.
Reid confirmed that he had a second contract offer on the table from his former team, the San Francisco 49ers, but chose the Panthers due to their higher offer. It was a relatively straightforward press conference, with Reid having short answers until he was asked about the community work he’s been doing during his absence from playing football.
“Our goal is to use our platform [with Kaepernick] to empower our people, and to not only open the door for us, but build our own building and have our own door.”
Reid publicly split from the NFL Players Coalition last year, and continued to say he has no interest in working with the group. The NFL Players Coalition, which was founded by Malcolm Jenkins and Anquan Boldin, promised to give $90 million to social justice programs, but Reid will remain on his track with Kaepernick.
“The Players Coalition is an NFL-funded subversion group, so that’s why I removed myself from them and I’ll keep moving forward with Colin.”
Reid said his goal for the season is to get back in playing shape, saying that while he’s been working out five days a week there’s no comparison for in-game action. Beyond that he said he just wants to help the Panthers this season.
As previously reported, Reid said the Panthers did not ask him about his plans to protest before signing him — but said he has spoken to other players on the team since arriving in Charlotte.
It’s going to be a very different season for Reid. This will be his first year as a pro where he will be playing away from his family. They didn’t make the move with him to the Carolinas, likely a byproduct of his one-year contract. However, Reid said that Kaepernick is happy for him returning to the league, and has offered to help fill in the gaps for his family while he’s playing this season.
Reid closed with a strong response to fans who are asking him to “stick to sports,” a cry that has been made multiple times at players speaking out.
“As we said, when we started, Colin and I, said: ‘Nothing will change unless you talk about it,’ so we’re going to continue to talk about it. We’re going to continue to hold America accountable to the standard it says on paper, that we’re all created equal, because it’s not that way — but we’re going to keep pushing forward.”
Reid will likely see his return to action early as the Panthers desperately need his help at safety. Carolina is set to host the Giants in Week 5.