Last season, the 49ers strong safety Eric Reid was the only other player to start sitting down for the anthem along side then teammate Colin Kaepernick. Now, Reis is speaking out in the NY Times about why he joined Colin Kaepernick in the taking a stand during the anthem last season.
In his open letter in the NY Times, Reid mention that the killing of the Alton Sterling, the Baton Rouge man who was shot by a cop hit him hard, he found it very disturbing and it brought the killing him to tears.
It was only a few weeks later Kaepernick began taking a sitting down during the anthem and catching criticism for it and something in Reid said he had to join Kaepernick and the cause.
Here is some of what he wrote:
“I approach Colin the Saturday before our next game to discuss how I could get involved with the cause but also how we could make a more powerful and positive impact on the social justice movement. We spoke at length about many of the issues that face our community, including systemic oppression against people of color, police brutality and the criminal justice system. We also discussed how we could use our platforms, provided to us by being professional athletes in the N.F.L., to seek for those who are voiceless.
After hours of careful consideration, and even a visit from Nate Boyer, a retired Green Beret and a former NFL player, we came to the conclusion that we should kneel, rather than sit, the next day during the anthem as a peaceful protest. We chose to kneel because it’s a respectful gesture. I remember thinking our posture was like a flag flown at half-mast to mark a tragedy.
It baffles me that our protest is still being misconstrued as disrespectful to the country, flag, and military personnel. We chose it because it’s exactly the opposite. It has always been my understanding that the brave men and women who fought and died for our country did so to ensure that we could live in a fair and free society, which includes the right to speak out in protest.”
In that piece of his letter, Reid mentioned the veteran Nate Boyer, a former Green Beret that proudly served six years with numerous tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan and who was also a player in the NFL.
Boyer even tweeted out a picture in 2016, with himself and Kaepernick saying, “Thanks for the invite brother… Good talk. Let’s just keep moving forward. This is what America should be all about.”
Reid siad that he loves the United Staes and that he is proud to be an American… “But, to quote James Bladwin, ‘exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.’ “
And no, it’s no surprise that Reid mentioned President Trump’s speech on Charlottesville. He said, “His remarks are a clear attempt to deepen the rift that we’ve tried so hard to mend.”
He continues by saying:
I can’t find words that appropriately express how heartbroken I am to see the constant smears against Colin, a person who helped start a movement with only the very best of intentions. We are talking about a man who helped to orchestrate a commercial planeful of food and supplies for famine-stricken Somalia. A man who has invested his time and money into needy communities here at home. A man I am proud to call my brother, who should be celebrated for his courage to seek change on important issues. Instead, to this day, he is unemployed and portrayed as a radical un-American who wants to divide our country.
Anyone who has a basics knowledge of football knows that his umemployment has nothing to do with his performance on the field. It’s a shame that the league has turned its back on a man who as done only good. I am aware that my involvement in this movement means that my caeer may face the same outcome as Colin’s. But to quote the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” And I choose not to betray those who are being oppressed.”
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