In the midst of controversy over President Donald Trumps recent comments of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem,Eric Reid, football player for the San Francisco 49ers and Baton Rouge native, reminds us of the origin of Colin Kaepernick’s actions in an Op-Ed published to the New York Times.
In response to Trumps actions at a rally in Alabama, Reid, who participated in the protest with Kaepernick wrote, “. . . it’s disheartening and infuriating that President Trump has referred to us with slurs but the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Va., as ‘very fine people.’ His remarks are a clear attempt to deepen the rift that we’ve tried so hard to mend.”
After telling ESPN in August that he will not continue to kneel during the national anthem because of the public response, it seems that he has once again changed his mind and will resume taking part in the protest, and is calling out for more to do the same. “What we need now is numbers. Some people acknowledge the issues we face yet remain silent bystanders. Not only do we need more of our fellow black and brown Americans to stand with us, but also people of other races.”
But what Reid also wanted other to remember is that their decision to kneel during the protest, instead of sit, was at the request of veteran and ex-NFL player, Nate Boyer.
In an open letter to Kaepernick posted to the Army Times, Boyer expressed his concerns about their protest. “Even though my initial reaction to your protest was one of anger, I’m trying to listen to what you’re saying and why you’re doing it,” he wrote.
Since publication of the letter, Kaepernick and Reid met with Boyer who then suggested they kneel, because it is a gesture of respect. “I remember thinking our posture was like a flag flown at half-mast to mark a tragedy.”
Reid also included in his letter that he is upset with the league for turning their backs on Kaepernick, because his “unemployment has nothing to do with his performance on the field.”
While Reid is aware that Kaepernick status is due to the protests, he is willing to continue for the cause, regardless of what might happen to him. “But to quote the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., ‘A time comes when silence is betrayal.’ And I choose not to betray those who are being oppressed.”