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By Tracy Jan
San Francisco 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick (7) and Eric Reid (35) kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte on Sept. 18, 2016. (Mike McCarn/AP)
On Sunday, before the San Francisco 49ers face off against the Philadelphia Eagles, Eric Reid will be kneeling on the sidelines during the national anthem like he has been doing for more than a year.
Reid, a 49ers safety turned linebacker, said that he remains committed to the protest over police brutality against African Americans that his former teammate Colin Kaepernick kicked off last season, despite his agent’s warning that he could end up like Kaepernick and be blackballed from the NFL when his contract expires next year.
“There is a risk that teams won’t want to sign me because of my involvement, but I’ve come to terms with that,” Reid said in an interview with The Washington Post Friday. “I believe what I’m doing is bigger than my career, and quite frankly we need more people to take that position. The system will only change via public pressure.”
The protests have riled President Trump, fans and America’s most profitable sports league as television ratings continue to drop, rattling some sponsors. Earlier this month, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to the 32 team owners articulating the league’s stance that players should stand during the anthem “to honor our flag and our country.”
But Reid said owners did not make an explicit request to players during their Oct. 17 meeting in New York. Team owners are scheduled to meet with players again on Tuesday to continue their dialogue about the protests.
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The 19-year MLB veteran now works with players as a financial analyst at Morgan Stanley Global Sports & Entertainment.