By Chuck Schilken | Los Angeles Times
Eric Reid was the first fellow player to kneel beside Colin Kaepernick on the sideline during the playing of the national anthem as a social protest.
Now both former San Francisco 49er players are free agents having trouble finding work in the NFL.
Reid made it clear Thursday that he thinks his history of activism is preventing him from a lucrative new job.
“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,” the free agent safety tweeted.
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.
— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) March 15, 2018
The NFL’s free agency period began Wednesday, with many players and teams unofficially making deals before then. But not Reid, who tweeted that he feels it’s the owners, rather than the general management, who are standing in the way.
He also shot back at a fan who said Reid’s move to linebacker during the season was indicative of his inability to play safety at a high level.
Your assumption is false. After Navorro went to the Raiders, there was a LB shortage and I was asked to pick up the slack. No training camp to practice, but in the middle of my contract year because the team needed it. Get your facts straight brother https://t.co/bfC3CR55bx
— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) March 16, 2018
Reid has spent all five of his NFL seasons with the 49ers and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. Last season, he started 12 games and played in 13, finishing with 66 tackles, two interceptions and one fumble recovery. He played mainly at strong safety but briefly moved to linebacker due to injuries.
He has knelt during the anthem before most games the past two seasons.
Kaepernick, a former Super Bowl quarterback, started a movement with his protests during the 2016 season. That year, he started the final 11 games for San Francisco and put up some good numbers, throwing for 16 touchdowns with four interceptions, but he led the team to only one victory.
He opted out of his contract during the 2017 offseason and has yet to find work in the league.
Late last year, Reid acknowledged that his own history with protests might hinder his job search as an upcoming free agent.
“I would say I understand that’s a possibility,” he said. “And I’m completely fine with it. The things that I’ve done, I stand by, and I’ve done that for my own personal beliefs. Like I said, I’m fine with whatever outcome happens because of that.”