Eric Reid did not let NFL teams get away with posting black squares on Twitter Tuesday in purported solidarity with the fight for racial justice while quarterback and activist Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned in the league.
Reid, an NFL free agent and former safety for the Carolina Panthers, responded to a number of football teams’ tweets about the Black Lives Matter movement by reminding them that Kaepernick led a wave of peaceful protests against racial injustice and police brutality in 2016 when he began kneeling during the national anthem at NFL games.
When the Houston Texans tweeted a black square on Tuesday with the caption, “Listening,” Reid replied: “Blackballing.”
He also tweeted responses to other teams, including the Atlanta Falcons and the Chicago Bears, countering their tweets that used the hashtag #BlackoutTuesday with “Blackball Tuesday.”
Reid later replied to a tweet from a team that likely struck a nerve.
The San Francisco 49ers tweeted a black square captioned “Black Lives Matter” with the hashtag #BlackoutTuesday. Reid once played for the 49ers alongside his longtime friend Kaepernick, who led the team to the Super Bowl as a quarterback in 2012.
Reid was the first NFL player to kneel alongside his then-teammate. He notably continued the peaceful protests long after Kaepernick played his last game in the league.
“I think you meant Blackball Tuesday...I digress,” Reid tweeted.
People began posting black squares on social media platforms on Tuesday as part of a “Blackout Tuesday” campaign in response to the police killing of George Floyd.
Many posters shared the black image with the commitment to not post content unrelated to the Black Lives Matter cause and to focus their offline efforts on determining ways to fight racist structures.
The black squares, however, drew some criticism on social media for being performative, especially as brands and corporations — i.e. the NFL — began latching on to the trend.
Critics also noted that some posters shared black squares using the hashtag #BlacklivesMatter, which helped to inadvertently suppress important information about the ongoing uprisings across the country by flooding the hashtag with black squares.
Later on Tuesday, Washington D.C.’s NFL team only made matters worse.
The team’s name is a racial slur against Native Americans. And yet it tweeted a black square with the hashtag #Blackouttuesday.
“Want to really stand for racial justice? Change your name,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang, two Black women who work in the music industry, created a campaign for Tuesday called #Theshowmustbepaused to “disrupt the work week” and hold music corporations accountable in supporting the Black community. It appears the #blackouttuesday hashtag and black squares evolved from this initiative. The organizers later discouraged posters from using the Black Lives Matter hashtag to participate in the campaign.