Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid announced he will continue taking a knee during the national anthem next season, three years after he and Colin Kaepernick started the movement to protest racial injustice and systematic oppression as teammates on the San Francisco 49ers.
“If a day comes that I feel like we’ve addressed those issues, and our people aren’t being discriminated against or being killed over traffic violations, then I’ll decide it’s time to stop protesting,” Reid, 27, told the Charlotte Observer. “I haven’t seen that happen.”
Reid and Kaepernick began kneeling during the pre-game performance of the national anthem in 2016, and while it drew widespread attention — and controversy — the NFL player believes the issues he hoped to shine a light on haven’t improved.
“It feels like we’re going backwards,” Reid told the newspaper. “You’d like to think we’re past certain things, the way we treat people. I thought we were at a time where you love your neighbor as yourself. But as I’ve studied history — it hasn’t repeated itself necessarily, but it’s dressed a little different and is acting the same.”
“We’ve got to keep fighting,” he continued. “Got to keep agitating. Got to keep making sure that we put pressure on the people who make the laws, and the decisions, in this country.”
Reid joined the Panthers last September and continued kneeling during the 13 games that followed after his signing. After recording 71 tackles, an interception, and a sack, the team signed him for three years in February 2019.
Meanwhile, after leaving the 49ers to become a free agent in 2016, Kaepernick — who led San Francisco to the Super Bowl in 2013 — still hasn’t found a team willing to sign him. Kaepernick and Reid sued the NFL for collusion grievance but settled for an undisclosed sum in February.