The NFL is displaying "End Racism" in the back of end zones. Teams are paying tribute on their helmets to those killed by police brutality and racism in America, and are coming together for moments of unity.
Once again, these all feel like gestures without substance. Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback who was the first player to peacefully protest during the playing of the national anthem, remains a free agent for the fourth straight season. Another player being left off NFL rosters also angers Kaepernick: His former teammate, Eric Reid.
Reid joined Kaepernick in kneeling during the anthem during the 2016 season and continued to do so with both the 49ers and Carolina Panthers. Now, the safety remains a free agent at just 28 years old. Kaepernick clearly feels Reid is being blackballed and also retweeted what should serve as proof Reid belongs in the league.
Kaepernick's girlfriend, Nessa Diab, is on the same page.
Reid played in all 16 games last season for the Panthers. He had 130 tackles -- seven for loss -- four sacks and five QB hits. Reid also had six passes defensed, forced one fumble and recovered two.
But the NFL is a passing league, and the advanced stats show Reid actually had a rough season for his position. He had a lowly 46.6 PFF grade in 2019. While he was second in the league with 103 solo tackles, his 45 receptions allowed were the third-most in football and he didn't register a single interception.
Reid plays more like a linebacker than a safety, though he's likely too small for that position at 215 pounds. He isn't the prototypical safety in what the game has become. That also doesn't mean he isn't talented enough to be on a roster -- he is -- and it doesn't mean he isn't being blackballed.
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The former 49er on Monday took to Twitter to blast the NFL for its handling of Kaepernick and said the league is being "half-hearted at best."
Kaepernick and Reid won't be silenced in their fight against racism, social injustice and police brutality. All at the same time, the NFL will continue telling you they care as these two watch from afar.