Free-agent safety Eric Reid, 26, who played his first five NFL seasons with the 49ers, has reportedly filed a collusion grievance against the NFL.
Statement on Eric Reid Collusion Grievance pic.twitter.com/Z4eGAADCoE— NFLPA (@NFLPA) May 2, 2018
The grievance is similar to the one former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick filed last year.
Kaepernick and Reid were the first players to kneel during the playing of the national anthem as a protest to racial inequality in the United States.
Shortly after the start of free agency, Reid posted the following statement on social media about his situation:
“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 it is, then your mindset is part of the problem too.”
On March 22, Reid said he would consider different ways to be an activist and probably would not kneel during the national anthem.
“From the beginning, Colin has been flexible,” Reid said. “He started by sitting. He changed it up. We decided to kneel. And we understand that you got to change with the times. So I’m not saying I’m going to stop being active, because I won’t. I’m just going to consider different ways to be active, different ways to bring awareness to the issues of this country to improve on.
“I don’t think it’ll be in the form of protesting during the anthem. And I said ‘during’ because it’s crazy to me that the narrative got changed to we were protesting the anthem, because that wasn’t the case. But I think we’re going to take a different approach to how to be active.”
Two weeks later, Reid took a free-agent visit to meet with the Cincinnati Bengals and was reportedly “caught off guard” when Bengals owner Mike Brown brought up the subject and explained to Reid he intends to make it mandatory for his players to stand for the national anthem. Pro Football Talk reported Reid could not make a commitment on the spot.
Last year, Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL. The filing claims the NFL and its owners colluded to "deprive Mr. Kaepernick of employment rights in retaliation for Mr. Kaepernick's leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice and his bringing awareness to peculiar institutions still undermining racial equality in the United States."
The 49ers have not publicly closed the door on re-signing Reid. But the team signed strong safety Jaquiski Tartt to a contract extension through the 2020 season and drafted another strong safety, Marcell Harris of Florida, in the sixth round. Reid, a first-round draft pick in 2013, made the Pro Bowl after his rookie season.