Eric Reid rips VP Mike Pence, calls exit from 49ers-Colts game 'PR stunt'

Eric Reid rips VP Mike Pence, calls exit from 49ers-Colts game 'PR stunt'

INDIANAPOLIS – San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid sized up the actions Sunday of United States Vice President Mike Pence as a move made for public-relations reasons.

After 23 members of the 49ers took a knee during the playing of the national anthem to protest racial inequality in America, Pence left Lucas Oil Stadium and shortly thereafter released a statement.

Reid, who was inactive for the game with a knee injury, was asked to react after the game.

“My honest reaction? First of all, does anyone know the last time he’s been to a football game?” Reid said. “With that being said, he tweeted out a three-year-old photo (before the game) of him at a Colts game. With the information I have, the last time he’s been to a Colts game was 3 years ago. So this looks like a PR stunt to me.

“He knew our team has had the most players protest. He knew that we were probably going to do to it again. This is what systemic oppression looks like. A man with power comes to a game, he tweets a couple things out and leaves the game with an attempt to thwart our efforts.”

President Donald Trump admitted via Twitter that he asked Pence to leave the game if he saw any players taking a knee. Pence, the former Governor of Indiana, was ostensibly at the game for the halftime ceremony during which Peyton Manning got his number retired.

Reid, who joined Colin Kaepernick in taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem for all of last season, reiterated the meaning of the protest.

“This is not about the military,” Reid said. “This is not about the flag. This is not about the anthem. My mother served in the armed forces. Three of my uncles served in the armed forces. In fact, my mom would’ve gone to the Persian Gulf War had she not been pregnant with me. I have the upmost respect for the military, the anthem and the flag. So I will say that every time you interview me.

“This is about systemic oppression that has been rampant in this country for decades on top of decades. And I will continue to encourage people to educate themselves of how we got to where we are today, because it didn’t happen overnight. It’s not going to happen overnight to fix these issues, so we’re going to keep talking about it. I know I will keep doing what I feel is necessary to use the platform I have to make those changes.”

Reid added, “It’s really disheartening when everything you were raised on – everything I was raised on – was to be the best person I could be, to help people who need help. And the vice president of the United States is trying to confuse the message that we’re trying to put out there.

“I would like to believe that he’s such a busy man that he hasn’t had time to hear our message, but this has been going on for over a year now. So I know that’s not the case.”

The 49ers next week travel to Washington and are situated in a hotel just blocks from the White House.

Terrell Owens selects former 49ers coach as his Hall of Fame presenter


Terrell Owens selects former 49ers coach as his Hall of Fame presenter

Terrell Owens has selected former 49ers special teams and wide receivers coach George Stewart as his presenter into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“He knew what to get out of me,” Owens told the Hall of Fame.

“He knows who I am. To know who Terrell Owens is, you have to spend some time with him. . . George Stewart became a father figure to me.”

Owens was elected into the Hall of Fame in February. He will enter the Hall of Fame in a class that also includes wide receiver Randy Moss, linebackers Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher and Robert Brazile, safety Brian Dawkins, guard Jerry Kramer, and contributor Bobby Beathard.

Owens played special teams under Stewart’s direction as a rookie after coming to the 49ers in 1996.

From 2000 to ’02, Stewart worked as the 49ers’ wide receivers coach. Owens was selected to three consecutive All-Pro teams and Pro Bowls during that time. Owens ranks No. 2 all time behind Jerry Rice with 15,934 receiving yards. He is third all-time with 153 receiving touchdowns.

Stewart is set to enter his 30th NFL season as an assistant coach and his second as special-teams coordinator of the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Class of 2018 will be enshrined inside Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday, Aug. 4.

Sherman makes his concern over Reid's free-agency status loud and clear


Sherman makes his concern over Reid's free-agency status loud and clear

Safety Eric Reid, who has 69 career starts and one Pro Bowl appearance in his five-year NFL career, remains available on the open market more than a week after the opening of free agency.

Reid has received no reported interest from NFL teams in what has been an unusually soft market for free-agent safeties. But, with Reid, there is another variable that could be playing a factor.

Reid was at the forefront of the social activism that has been a major storyline in the NFL since the beginning of the 2016 season. Reid and former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the playing of the national anthem in protest of racial inequality in America.

Reid has remained outspoken and has taken a knee as a way to “make people uncomfortable about the issues.” Reid has been clear his protest has nothing to do with the flag or the anthem.

“The anthem is just a vehicle to get us to have those conversations,” Reid told NBC Sports Bay Area last season. “It’s the platform we have. It’s the only time we have to get the eyeballs on us to do that. If we just did locker-room talks afterward, nobody would even know. Strategically, this is the only way we thought we could do it.”

Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman, who signed a three-year contract with the 49ers on March 10, had been the Seattle Seahawks’ player representative. He is a vice president of the NFL Players Association. Reid was the 49ers’ union representative.

Sherman said he is keeping a close eye on Reid’s situation.

“We are concerned, because he played at a high level for just about every year that he’s played in this league,” Sherman said on Tuesday. “He’s made enough plays to be signed with a team and to make his money. He deserves his money. Safeties make a certain amount. I would think he’s top-five, top-10 safeties in this league, so he deserves to be paid accordingly.

“So there is concern there, because you would think a player of his caliber and his quality would be picked up by now. I think great teams are still looking and people are still looking for players. I’m praying that he gets picked up. But if he doesn’t, then I think there will be a conversation with the league office and the union on potential league action.”

Kaepernick never got so much as an opportunity to compete for an NFL roster spot during training camp last season. Could Reid, 26, be heading for the same fate?

Reid addressed the issue last week on social media:

“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 systemic oppression, is ludicrous. If you think is, then your mindset is part of the problem too.”

The 49ers have not placed a priority on re-signing Reid. The club already has potential starting safeties Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert under contract for the upcoming season.

Reid, whom the 49ers traded up to select with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, has 10 career interceptions. He appeared to thrive last season in run support as a safety who played closer to the line of scrimmage.