Recently-signed Panther Eric Reid dropped to one knee moments before the playing of the national anthem Sunday in Bank of America Stadium.
After the last phrase of the anthem, Reid was met with hugs from his teammates.
It was the safety’s first game with the Carolina Panthers since the team signed him to a one-year contract last week. Reid is known for being one of the first players to kneel with former San Francisco 49ers teammate Colin Kaepernick during the national anthem in protest of social injustice and police brutality, especially against young black men.
Reid’s decision to kneel isn’t a total surprise. He didn’t say what he would do, but Reid made it clear he would continue to join Kaepernick in highlighting the issues at the root of pre-game protests.
“As we said when we started — Colin and I — nothing will change unless we talk about it,” Reid said at last Monday’s press conference. “So, we’re gonna continue to talk about it. We’re gonna continue to hold America to the standard that it says on paper — that we’re all created equal. Because it’s not that way right now. But we’re gonna keep pushing towards that.”
Both Reid and Kaepernick are pursuing formal grievances against NFL owners for allegedly colluding in an effort to keep the players from returning to the league due to their protests. Reid said last Monday that even though he’s playing for the Panthers, he will continue to move forward with the complaint.
Reid’s decision to kneel Sunday made him the first Panther to protest during the National Anthem. Even though the move will likely stir controversy, Reid indicated he’s not concerned about whether his efforts to oppose racial injustice would be supported in Charlotte.
“There’s always opposition when you speak on topics like I’m speaking on, but I’m a black man in America – I grew up black in America,” he said last Monday. “You can’t tell me that what I’ve experienced and what I’ve seen is not true.”