Reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes is among a growing contingent of NFL players that have elicited verbal support from the league on issues of racial injustice. They want action from the NFL, too. One of those players, Houston Texans safety Justin Reid, just so happens to have a specific request for the NFL's next steps: Give Colin Kaepernick, as well as his brother, Eric, a "fair opportunity" to continue their football careers.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell publicly encouraged peaceful player protests during his recent address to Mahomes and Co., but the one thing he didn't do, as player activists like Malcolm Jenkins have pointed out, is single out original protesters like Kaepernick. Both Kaep and Eric Reid, of course, have long alleged that the NFL and/or its teams refused to sign them because of their decision to protest police brutality and systemic racism by kneeling during the national anthem as far back as 2016.
Kaepernick has not played since that season, while Reid remains unsigned despite posting career numbers with the Carolina Panthers in 2019. Justin, meanwhile, told the Houston Chronicle on Thursday that one way the NFL could prove it's not just offering lip service to the players' social justice movement is by, once and for all, granting both former protesters an opportunity.
"The NFL went out and issued a public apology because I feel like they didn't really have a choice with how the entire country erupted, figuratively speaking and in some ways literally," Reid said. "The NFL issued an apology, which is cool they took responsibility for it. I give them credit for that, but what are they doing next? Colin still doesn't have a job; he hasn't even had a phone call. My brother hasn't even had a phone call. He's coming off setting two franchise records last season, and not even a phone call. Are you guys truly with us? Or is this a PR move because you had no choice but to accept responsibility?
"All they really want is an unbiased tryout," Reid continued, "an opportunity to prove themselves that they are the best player available to make the 53-man roster. My brother was coming off the prime of his career (with the San Francisco 49ers), and it still took him almost a year before he got signed with Carolina. When he did sign with Carolina, he became an immediate impact player and still gets released and not even a phone call. There hasn't been fair opportunity they deserve."
Last November, Kaepernick had a workout and several NFL teams were in attendance despite a scheduling change. However, Kaepernick's workout did not lead to any serious discussions with other teams -- at least not from what has publicly leaked. Renewed interest in Kapernick's services could grow this offseason.
One potential solution for Reid is that his brother's team could bring him on board. The Houston Texans were recently granted time off to be part of the movement for racial justice in the wake of George Floyd's Memorial Day killing, with coach Bill O'Brien among those attending Floyd's Houston memorial service. More than that, O'Brien, who Reid says has "all the respect in the world" for his "sincere" advocacy of change, has reportedly considered signing Eric Reid in the past.