Shaun King: ‘How Does The NFL Explain What It Has Done To Eric Reid?’

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Good morning everybody.

The NFL season is in full swing and in just a minute I want to double down why I am continuing my boycott and hope you do too, but first I want to give you two updates on the Botham Jean case.

Yesterday his wonderful parents held Botham Jean’s final memorial service and buried him in their homeland of St. Lucia. As you can imagine, it was a heartbreaking experience.

We are grateful, though, that his parents received a tiny measure of justice yesterday as well – when the Dallas Police Department announced that they finally fired his killer, Officer Amber Guyger. I agree with most of you – she should’ve been fired already, but I’ve studied hundreds of these cases and the officers are rarely fired at all – so firing her was a very important step in this process. It also means the Dallas Police Department has reviewed the details of this case and is removing their support from her in any meaningful way – which I believe always makes a conviction just a little bit more likely.

I wanna take the next few minutes to break down why I’m continuing my NFL boycott this year and hope that you do as well. And it really centers around the reality that the NFL has stolen the careers of two brilliant Black men who dared to speak out against police brutality. But we often talk about one of them and just don’t talk enough about the other.

Colin Kaepernick should have an NFL job right now. He’s arguably better and more accomplished than half of the starters. He’s better and more accomplished than every backup. Let’s not even talk about third-stringers. The notion that he’s not one of the top 100 quarterbacks in the league is preposterous.

But just for arguments’ sake, let’s assume you are right. Let’s work from the premise that Colin Kaepernick is not in the NFL right now for purely football reasons. Let’s start at the position that every quarterback in the entire league is better, more skilled, more capable, more accomplished than him. All of them. And that he’s been out of the NFL for over 500 days simply because it has been determined on football grounds that he would not make a single team better.

You’d be hard pressed to find a single current or former NFL player to agree with such a position, but let’s just put all of that aside for a moment.

Now explain why Pro-Bowl safety and defensive back Eric Reid doesn’t have a job.

He’s 26 years old, injury free, can play multiple positions, is an ethical, generous leader on and off the field, just finished his rookie contract, and is widely known as a coachable, team-first athlete. Try to make the argument that he doesn’t belong on an NFL roster for football reasons.

It’s impossible. In fact, a deep analysis of his stats and value has already been done. Everybody who plays at Eric Reid’s level has a job and a well paying-contract except for Eric Reid. In fact, the NFL is riddled with athletes who’ve suspended and arrested and convicted – and they’ve routinely been given second and third and fourth chances, but not Eric Reid – who is clearly being punished not just for taking a knee on the field, but for doing so alongside Colin Kaepernick.

While just a small handful of black players continue to take a knee or remain in the locker room during the National Anthem, only Eric Reid did so side by side with Colin Kaepernick for an entire season. And that genuinely appears to be at the root of why Eric Reid has effectively been banned from the NFL this season. It may sound far fetched, but you have to remember that many NFL team owners and executives have openly said that they “hate” Colin Kaepernick and have even gone so far as to compare him to a convicted murderer.

I think team owners and executives hate Colin Kaepernick so much that their vitriol toward him has spread to Eric Reid. I can’t make sense of it any other way. I’ve looked at Eric Reid’s forced exodus from the league from every imaginable angle. It’s so preposterous that it’s somewhat hard to believe that a mainstream American company, and that’s what the NFL is, is willing to so obtusely play their hand like this, but I think that’s exactly what they’ve done here.

I’m a sports junkie – have been my entire life. On sports talk radio I regularly hear both the hosts and callers say that they think Colin Kaepernick has been banished from the NFL not just because of his on the field protest, but because he wore socks portraying cops as pigs or a shirt featuring Malcolm X talking to Fidel Castro. Again, let’s just pretend that’s true for a moment. Let’s say that Colin did all of his protests, but never wore the socks or that t-shirt and that the socks and the shirt are what pushed it all over the top.

I’ll close with this thought.

How does the NFL explain what it has done to Eric Reid?

He never wore the socks. He never wore the shirt. He never rocked a full Afro or put up a black power fist to the people.

What he did, though, was kneel by Colin Kaepernick’s side as the two were teammates. And clearly it’s cost him everything.

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Shaun King: ‘How Does The NFL Explain What It Has Done To Eric Reid?’ was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

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