Eric Reid

NFLPA files grievance on behalf of former 49ers safety Eric Reid

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AP

NFLPA files grievance on behalf of former 49ers safety Eric Reid

The NFL Players Association on Monday announced it has filed a grievance on behalf of free-agent safety Eric Reid, who played his first five NFL seasons with the 49ers.

Reid has taken only one free-agent visit this offseason. In April, he met with the Cincinnati Bengals. Team owner Mike Brown reportedly spoke extensively to Reid about the protest of racial inequality. According to Pro Football Talk, Brown told Reid he plans to prohibit his players from protesting during the national anthem.

The incident with Brown appears to be referenced in the grievance that the players union filed on Reid’s behalf:

“At least one club owner has asked pre-employment interview questions about a player's intent to demonstrate. We believe these questions are improper, given League policy. “

The grievance states that the NFL has no rule that prohibits players from demonstrating during the anthem. And the league’s collective bargaining agreement “definitively states that League rules superseide any conflicting team rules,” according to the grievance.

Moreover, the grievance alleges that one NFL team “appears” to have based its decision to not offer a contract on Reid’s statement that he would challenge the implementation on a league rule prohibiting players from protesting.

Reid and Colin Kaepernick first began taking a knee during the national anthem in a protest of police brutality and racial injustice at the beginning of the 2016 season. Kaepernick was out of the league last year, and Reid continued the protest through the 2017 season.

In March, Reid indicated that he would continue to be an activist but that he probably would not demonstrate 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.”

The 49ers are not beleived to have offered Reid a contract, and the club appears to have no plan for Reid. In addition to veteran defensive backs Jaquiski Tartt, Jimmie Ward and Adrian Colbert, the 49ers added three potential safeties through the draft: Tarvarius Moore, D.J. Reed and Marcell Harris.

Report: Eric Reid files collusion grievance against NFL

Report: Eric Reid files collusion grievance against NFL

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.

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.

Eric Reid presents Colin Kaepernick Ambassador of Conscience Award

Eric Reid presents Colin Kaepernick Ambassador of Conscience Award

AMSTERDAM — Amnesty International gave former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick its Ambassador of Conscience Award on Saturday for his kneeling protest of racial injustice that launched a sports movement and might have cost him his job.

Onetime San Francisco 49ers teammate Eric Reid presented Kaepernick with the award during a ceremony in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands.

In his acceptance speech, the award-winner described police killings of African Americans and Latinos in the United States as lawful lynchings.

"Racialized oppression and dehumanization is woven into the very fabric of our nation — the effects of which can be seen in the lawful lynching of black and brown people by the police, and the mass incarceration of black and brown lives in the prison industrial complex," Kaepernick said.

Kaepernick first took a knee during the pre-game playing of the American national anthem when he was with the 49ers in 2016 to protest police brutality.

"How can you stand for the national anthem of a nation that preaches and propagates, 'freedom and justice for all,' that is so unjust to so many of the people living there?" he said at Saturday's award ceremony.

Other players joined his protest in the 2016 season, drawing the ire of President Donald Trump, who called for team owners to fire such players.

In response to the player demonstrations, the NFL agreed to commit $90 million over the next seven years to social justice causes in a plan.

Kaepernick wasn't signed for the 2017 season following his release in San Francisco.

Reid, a safety who is now a free agent, continued Kaepernick's protests by kneeling during the anthem last season. Reid has said he will take a different approach in 2018.

Kaepernick paid tribute to his friend for his own role in the protest movement.

"Eric introducing me for this prestigious award brings me great joy," Kaepernick said. "But I am also pained by the fact that his taking a knee, and demonstrating courage to protect the rights of black and brown people in America, has also led to his ostracization from the NFL when he is widely recognized as one of the best competitors in the game and in the prime of his career."

Amnesty hands its award each year to a person or organization, "dedicated to fighting injustice and using their talents to inspire others."

Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty called Kaepernick "an athlete who is now widely recognized for his activism because of his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination."

Previous recipients of the award include anti-Apartheid campaigner and South African President Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who campaigned for girls' right to education even after surviving being shot by Taliban militants.

"In truth, this is an award that I share with all of the countless people throughout the world combating the human rights violations of police officers, and their uses of oppressive and excessive force," Kaepernick said.