A former teammate of Colin Kaepernick condemned the NFL's recent embrace of peaceful protest as "half-hearted," calling it "PR for the current business climate."
According to former 49ers Eric Reid, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has not personally called to apologize to Kaepernick despite the league's admission that they were "wrong" not to embrace peaceful protest sooner.
"What the @NFL is doing is half-hearted at best," Reid tweeted Monday. "@nflcommish has gotten comfortable saying he "was wrong" as if his mere acknowledgement reconciles his admitted wrongdoing. He hasn't even called Colin to apologize, let alone reconcile, proving this is only PR for the current business climate."
In 2016, Reid was the first player to kneel beside Kaepernick during the national anthem to demonstrate against systemic racism and police brutality.
Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers following the 2016 season. Despite being just 28 at the time and a few years removed from a Super Bowl appearance, Kaepernick has not since been offered a contract by any NFL team.
The league has since admitted it was wrong for "not listening to NFL players" regarding anthem protests, but has not mentioned Kaepernick specifically. In the wake of a wave of civil unrest following the death of George Floyd, the Goodell and the NFL released a statement saying that they "encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest." In that same statement, the NFL condemned racism and said it believes that "Black Lives Matter."
On Thursday, prior to the 2020 season opener between the Chiefs and Texans, the NFL released a video of Alicia Keys performing "Lift Every Voice and Sing" that featured images of Kaepernick kneeling during the anthem.
Reid said Monday that it was "diabolical" that the league used the images of Kaepernick despite the fact that he is still without a job.
"Roger Goodell uses video of Colin courageously kneeling to legitimize their disingenuous PR while simultaneously perpetuating systemic oppression, that the video he's using fights against, by continuing to rob Colin of his career," Reid said. "It's diabolical."
Reid himself has claimed he was blackballed for kneeling alongside Kaepernick. Reid played out his contract with the 49ers and went unsigned in the offseason. During one interview with the Bengals, he claimed team owner Mike Brown specifically asked if he would continue kneeling, and when Reid declined to answer, he was not offered a contract. In 2019, he and Kaepernick settled their collusion grievances against the league for an undisclosed amount.
Reid was signed by the Carolina Panthers during the 2018 season. After spending the 2019 season with the team, he was released and is currently a free agent.
Dozens of players chose to kneel or raise fists during the national anthem prior to week 1 games on Sunday, including seven teams who chose not to take the field.