Eric Reid on Ron Rivera allowing him to kneel for anthem: 'He doesn't have a choice'

Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid has been a solid contributor since the team signed him. He has started all four games he has played in, with 24 tackles and a sack. The Panthers are 3-1 in those games.

There hasn’t been a problem that Reid is kneeling during the playing of the national anthem at NFL games, as he continues to bring attention to social causes. That’s how it should be. Reid is doing his job, doing it well and the Panthers are happy to have him.

“Like I’ve always said about this stuff, the only time it’s a distraction is when you guys bring it up,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said according to ESPN, referencing the media.

That’s great, because Reid said that he plans to keep kneeling.

Carolina Panthers' Eric Reid said he doesn't plan to stop kneeling during the anthem. (AP)
Carolina Panthers’ Eric Reid said he doesn’t plan to stop kneeling during the anthem. (AP)

‘Very respectfully, he doesn’t have a choice’

Rivera has supported Reid kneeling when asked about it, and Reid had a straightforward answer about Rivera’s support.

“Very respectfully, he doesn’t have a choice,” Reid said, according to ESPN’s David Newton. “He’s entitled to his opinion, but I know what my rights are. His family was a military family much like many of my people were in the military. My cousin just got back from Afghanistan. My mom was in the armed services. My uncle was enlisted. The list goes on.

“But when they get home they’re still black in America. They’re going to fight the same wars when they get home and still face the same things I’m talking about. So I get encouragement from my family that served in the armed forces because they agree with what I’m saying.”

Reid said some fans have yelled at him during the anthem, but any fans who claim they’re outraged have not said anything about it to his face.

“When I’m in the community, when I get approached, I can honestly say I’ve not had anybody say stop kneeling in public,” Reid said, according to ESPN. “It’s all been supportive.”

Eric Reid and Players Coalition continue to disagree

He said in the ESPN story that football is his job, but when it comes to speaking up for black people, “this is my life.” As for Colin Kaepernick, his former teammate and friend who he’ll always be tied to, Reid said Kaepernick is doing a lot of work in communities but doesn’t invite cameras along to document it.

“He meets people morning to night on a daily basis,” Reid said.

If there’s been one controversial aspect of Reid’s time with the Panthers, it was when he tried to confront Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins during the coin toss before the teams played. Reid is upset that Jenkins and the Players Coalition “sold out” Kaepernick, who started the movement, and Jenkins and other members of the Players Coalition like Redskins cornerback Josh Norman say Reid has his own agenda. The bad feelings on both sides will continue.

“We didn’t start protesting for the NFL’s money,” Reid said, according to ESPN. “So when we feel like a deal was done to end what we started, we take offense to that.”

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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