Before Sunday’s Panthers-Eagles game, Carolina safety Eric Reid walked onto the field during the coin toss to give Philadelphia’s Malcolm Jenkins a piece of his mind. After the game, Reid shared some of his thoughts on the fellow safety with reporters, calling Jenkins a “sellout” who “co-opted” the player protests to “get his organization funded.”
Reid was referring to the Players Coalition, a group led by Jenkins that reached a deal in November 2017 for the NFL to contribute approximately $90 million to community-oriented causes favored by players. That quickly led to a fallout with Reid, who claimed at the time that Jenkins, in exchange for the league’s donation, was willing to agree to call for an end to the protests without consulting with Reid or Colin Kaepernick, who by then had been out of the NFL since the previous March.
Following the Panthers' 21-17 win Sunday in Philadelphia, Reid was asked if his pregame confrontation with Reid was related to their disagreement over the direction of the Players Coalition. “He’s a sellout,” was the response of Reid, who was the first to join Kaepernick, when both were with the 49ers, in protesting racial injustice and police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem.
Reid has remained close with the former quarterback, and as with Kaepernick, has filed a grievance against the league for what he sees as collusion to keep him unemployed. Unlike his ex-teammate, Reid was eventually signed, by the Panthers in late September, and he has resumed kneeling during the anthem, including before Sunday’s game, making him one of the very few NFL players continuing to do so.
Calling Jenkins, who has discontinued his practice of raising his fist during the anthem, a “neocolonialist,” Reid said, “I believe Malcolm capitalized on the situation. He co-opted the movement that was started by Colin to get his organization funded.
"Its cowardly. He sold us out.”
Asked about Reid’s remarks, Jenkins told reporters, “I would never get up here and say anything bad about somebody who I know, whose intentions were real about helping the community, especially another black man. So I’m going to leave it at that.”
Jenkins added that he was “glad” that Reid was “back in the league,” but otherwise declined to offer more comment. In the past, Jenkins has denied Reid’s claims that Kaepernick was deliberately excluded from protest-related talks between the NFL and the Players Coalition.
Redskins cornerback Josh Norman came to Jenkins’s defense last month, saying to The Washington Post of Kaepernick and Jenkins, “They weren’t really organized and communicating with nobody. . . . [Jenkins] was one of those who had a better plan than what was going on.”
“When [Kaepernick] took a knee, everybody was in shock and everything, but when the bullets start flying, I was trying to figure out where he was at. He was ducking,” Norman added at the time, but he quickly walked back those remarks, saying, “I said something earlier about [Kaepernick] and it was nothing that I want to tear down what he’s done or what he has been doing, not at all.”
“I don’t focus on Malcolm every day,” Reid said Sunday (via NFL.com). “My focus is on the fight, the fight of my people. We just crossed paths today.”
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