Eric Reid had much more than football on his mind Sunday.
The Carolina Panthers safety made that clear even before kickoff at Lincoln Financial Field, confronting Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins during the teams’ pregame coin toss and staring down Philly’s sideline throughout the game.
Many assumed Reid’s issue with Jenkins stemmed from their history with the Players’ Coalition and the NFL player protest movement. They were right.
In a terse interview session with reporters after the Panthers’ 21-17 win, Reid called Jenkins a “sell-out” and referred to the Eagles safety as a “neo-colonialist.”
(Click here to watch the interview.)
Here’s more background on their beef: Jenkins helped co-found the Players’ Coalition in 2017 with the goal of “making an impact on social justice and racial inequality” and continuing the work of Colin Kaepernick, who began kneeling before NFL games in 2016 to protest social inequality and police violence against minorities in America.
Reid, who was the first player to continue Kaepernick’s movement, initially was a Players’ Coalition member but dropped out, taking issue with how the group was being funded.
“Malcolm conveyed to us — based on discussions that he had with the NFL — that the money would come from funds that are already allocated to breast cancer awareness and Salute to Service,” Reid said in November 2017, via ESPN.com. “So it would really be no skin off the owners’ backs: They would just move the money from those programs to this one.”
On Sunday, Reid dialed up his criticism of Jenkins.
“He co-opted with the movement that was started by Colin to get his organization started,” Reid said. “It was cowardly. He sold us out.”
Reid knelt during the national anthem of Sunday’s game and explained he’s continuing to protest a “system of oppression” and “neo-colonialism.” He then added bluntly: “I would say (Jenkins is) a neo-colonialist.”
Essentially, Reid doesn’t think the Players’ Coalition aligns with Kaepernick’s original intentions and is being too diplomatic in working with the NFL. Kaepernick obviously agrees, it seems.
Thumbnail photo via Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports Images