Both men began kneeling for “The Star-Spangled Banner” when they played for the San Francisco 49ers. Kaepernick was the first to do it in 2016, then Reid followed.
The purpose of the protest was to address social injustice against black people in the United States, as well as systematic oppression, and Kaepernick and Reid were called heroes for peacefully protesting on one of sport’s biggest stages. Others, meanwhile, said kneeling for the national anthem is unpatriotic and disrespectful to American soldiers.
Kaepernick hasn’t played in the NFL since 2016, and he claimed team owners froze him out because of the protesting, hence the collusion grievance that he and Reid settled earlier this year.
Reid was eventually picked up by the Carolina Panthers after he left San Francisco, where he continued to kneel, which is something the safety plans to keep doing.
“If a day comes that I feel like we’ve addressed those issues, and our people aren’t being discriminated against or being killed over traffic violations, then I’ll decide it’s time to stop protesting,” he told The Charlotte Observer.
In fact, Reid said the U.S. is in a current state of retrogression.
“It feels like we’re going backwards,” he stated. “You’d like to think we’re past certain things, the way we treat people. I thought we were at a time where you love your neighbor as yourself. But as I’ve studied history, it hasn’t repeated itself necessarily, but it’s dressed a little different and is acting the same.”
Kaepernick caught wind of his former teammate’s words and praised him on Instagram.
“Unwavering. Unrelenting. Unflinching. Unapologetic. Love you Brother!” he wrote on Tuesday.
Kaepernick’s girlfriend Nessa Diab also had kind words for Reid in an Instagram message that was also posted on Tuesday.
Reid’s first regular-season game with the Panthers this year is on September 8 against the Los Angeles Rams.