Opinion

Published on March 22nd, 2018 | by Dwaine Quashie

Is it all over for Eric Reid?

Former San Francisco 49ers star Eric Reid claims his political stance cost him his place on the team after he joined Colin Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality on minorities in America.

Both players have not had a club since the ‘take a knee’ protests. Many believe that the NFL has blacklisted them for their stance, while others claim it’s for footballing reasons.

At the age of 30, Kaepernick should really be in his prime as a quarterback, while strong safety Reid is younger at 26 and should not be short of lucrative offers.

Both have better stats than majority of the players getting signed by clubs in NFL in their positions.

So the logical assumption has to be that those clubs do not want the extra baggage that comes with two high-profile athlete activists.

Kaepernick has also not helped himself by filing a lawsuit against the NFL, claiming it is indeed blacklisting him. Whether you think this is brave or foolish, can you really seek to sue your employers but still expect to be employed by them?

So Kaepernick remains sidelined since the end of 2016, with the prospects of a return to the field receding.

Reid is similarly a free agent, and has indicated that he is reconciled with the possibility of replicating his former team-mate’s fate.

In December 2017, he said: “I would say I understand that’s a possibility, and I’m completely fine with it. The things that I’ve done, I stand by, and I’ve done that for my own personal beliefs. Like I said, I’m fine with whatever outcome happens because of that.”

‘Owners are the problem’

Picked in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Reid had enjoyed a successful career up until now.

In his rookie season, he was selected for the Pro Bowl exhibition game, and went on to establish himself as an integral part of the 49ers defence.

At the end of last season, San Francisco head coach, Kyle Shanahan said Reid had been “playing his best football”, and yet today he remains unsigned.

Even if one take on Kaepernick’s situation is that he’s older and ready for retirement (although the best QBs often play on into their late thirties), why is Reid being tarred with the same brush uif it isn’t politically related?

Reid is under the impression that it’s not staff on the playing side of things that are the problem, but teams owners instead.

In a tweet on March 15th, he said: ” “The notion that I can be a great signing for your team for cheap, not because of my skill set but because I’ve protested systematic oppression, is ludicrous. If you think is, then your mind-set is part of the problem too.”,

He went on add that “[General managers] aren’t the hold-up… it’s ownership. People who know football know who can play. People who know me, know my character.”

Some in the sports world have come to accept that Kaepernick is still a free agent because he isn’t top quality anymore, not because of his political protests.

But no-one is buying that line with Reid – a player who has been described as a “free safety, box safety, matchup safety, slot corner and linebacker. He’s a hitter who can also cover, both man and zone. He’s shown instinctive playmaking prowess. In no sane world is Eric Reid a back-up.”

So is an NFL team going to find enough courage to sign him up for 2018-19? Or are they really going to let one of the most talented players remain on the back burner?

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