Eric Reid, the San Francisco 49ers’ veteran safety, took a knee once again during the national anthem last Sunday during the team’s preseason bout with the Minnesota Vikings. This time, his message as a new meaning.
A year ago at this time, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colik Kaepernick made waves by kneeling during the national anthem.
Whether you agreed or disagreed with it, you couldn’t avoid it. The story was everywhere, which was probably Kaepernick’s point — raising awareness of social injustice and bigotry.
One of Kap’s teammates then, safety Eric Reid, joined the now-unemployed quarterback in the protest. Yet after the season was over, Reid vowed to stand.
San Francisco 49ers
“When we started doing that, our goal was to open up the floor to conversation. I believe we’ve achieved that goal,” Reid said last April, via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. “So now we just want to move forward and just partner with people that’s trying to make a change.”
But as you saw on the photo for this article, Reid has changed his mind.
The Niners visited the Minnesota Vikings for Week 3 of the preseason — a quasi-prime-time matchup on Sunday Night Football.
And Reid bent the knee again.
This time, though, a slew of teammates surrounded Reid. Some, including wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, put their hands on Reid’s shoulders.
A year ago, Reid and Kaepernick’s message focused largely on police brutality toward minorities. Now, Reid’s message paints a larger picture.
And regardless how you feel about the current sociopolitical landscape, you can’t dismiss the tension that exists.
Reid elaborated, via Dave Campbell of AP Sports (h/t San Francisco Chronicle):
"Accountability for officers that step outside the line. We want our president to be a president and not threaten to shut down the government over a wall. To change the oppression that happens in this country. It has no place in the world, let alone America.Our goal is to just keep talking about it. Hopefully we inspire people to do something about it through our protests. And this isn’t something that’s new. I’ve learned a lot of things throughout the past year about athletes that have talked about the same things that we’re talking about. So the goal is just to create some change."
You can see more of Reid’s comments, recorded from the San Jose Mercury News‘ Cam Inman, below:
Again, you don’t have to like or support Reid’s protest. That’s your right. But one thing you should do is at least respect the safety for raising his voice.
He knows there will be backlash. He understands not everyone will agree. And he’s certain there will be those who tell him to “stick to football” or “you’re a traitor.”
Reid is taking this stand because he loves his country.