Eric Reid Becomes The First Carolina Panther To Take A Knee

“I’m not going to talk about a guy exercising his first amendment rights," Panthers coach Ron Rivera said.

NFL safety Eric Reid became the first player on the Carolina Panthers to kneel during the national anthem on Sunday. 

His protest against police brutality and racial inequality should come as no surprise to Panthers fans. The safety was one of the first players on the San Francisco 49ers to join Colin Kaepernick in kneeling in 2016. 

Reid, who was unsigned during the offseason, joined the Panthers nearly a month into the season. He and Kaepernick are involved in an ongoing lawsuit against the NFL for colluding to keep them from playing due to their protest.

Kaepernick commended his former teammate, along with Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson of the Miami Dolphins, for their “unwavering conviction” against systemic oppression.

Others on Twitter, including director Ava DuVernay, showed their support as well.

Since Kaepernick first kneeled on the football field two years ago, he remains unsigned.

The NFL and much of the nation, including President Trump, have slammed kneeling during the anthem as un-American and unpatriotic. However, supporters say players have a right to protest and free speech under the First Amendment. 

When asked about Reid’s protest on Sunday, Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera said, “I’m not going to talk about a guy exercising his first amendment rights. I’m going to talk about what happens on the football field.”