The Carolina Panthers have brought a polarizing character back into the NFL. On Thursday, the team signed safety Eric Reid, who was one of the original players involved in the national anthem protests with Colin Kaepernick.
When Reid signed with the Panthers, the team’s Twitter account posted a photo of Reid sitting with a fist up over his contract. Carolina may be in support of Reid’s political agenda, but the news of Reid’s signing came during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, while the United States’ attention was shifted away from sports. To complicate the matter further, the Panthers previous owner Jerry Richardson had to sell his team after facing allegations of racism and sexual abuse.
While he is a supremely talented safety, Reid was the first player in the NFL to join Kaepernick by taking a knee during the anthem. That role in the protests likely contributed to Reid’s extended time as a free agent. Perhaps, this signing gives Reid an opportunity to prove that teams wouldn’t sign him because of his political interests. He could quickly return to form as one of the top safeties in the NFL, and at the very least, he should be a starter and contributor on the Panthers defense.