The first adopter of Colin Kaepernick’s protest movement is employed once again.
The Carolina Panthers announced Thursday they have signed safety Eric Reid, who was passed over in free agency this offseason.
Reid spent his previous five NFL seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and in 2016 was the first player to join Kaepernick in sitting or kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality in minority communities in America.
Reid’s contract with the Niners expired in 2017, and in May 2018, he filed a collusion grievance against the NFL, claiming the league’s owners conspired to avoid signing him due to his protests. (Kaepernick filed a similar grievance in November 2017.)
Carolina ended Reid’s unemployment Wednesday, though, and judging by this social media post, the team appears to fully support the veteran safety.
Whether Reid will continue to protest during the national anthem, despite President Donald Trump’s continued attacks on the movement, remains to be seen, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, who reports the move was strictly a “football decision.”
The Panthers have a bye in Week 4, so Reid’s debut won’t come until Oct. 7 against the New York Giants, at the earliest.
It’s also unclear whether Reid’s signing impacts the future of Kaepernick, who hasn’t played an NFL snap since 2016 and recently signed a high-profile promotional deal with Nike.