Eric Reid that he knew his protests of systemic racism during pregame national anthems might make him an unwanted man in NFL free agency this offseason. Now, the former San Francisco 49ers safety may be proving himself right.
Four days after teams were permitted to start negotiating with unsigned veterans, the 26-year-old defensive back has yet to find a new home. Reid took to Twitter on Friday to say that lack of interest from teams has nothing to do with personnel executives and general managers passing on his skill set. Instead, Reid suggested, it has everything to do with team "ownership."
"GMs aren't the holdup, broski," Reid said to a fan. "It's ownership. People who know football know who can play. People who know me know my character."
A first-round draft pick by the Niners in 2013, Reid also tweeted that "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."
Contrary to a statement from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport that "literally no (other) safeties have signed" in the first week of free agency, other veterans at the position, including Marcus Gilchrist, have, in fact, inked new contracts. Reid, meanwhile, has yet to be linked to any team.
The safety has missed nine games over the last two seasons with injuries, but he also consistently ranked among San Francisco's leading tacklers, posting at least 60 in all but one of his five years with the 49ers.
A Pro Bowler in 2013, when he intercepted a career-high four passes, Reid is perhaps best known for his efforts to protest injustice alongside fellow ex-Niner Colin Kaepernick. The first of dozens of NFL players to join Kaepernick in either kneeling, sitting or raising a fist during pregame anthems to protest police brutality and systemic racism starting in 2016, he ultimately played a founding role in the Players Coalition, a group that -- albeit after his departure -- from the NFL.