When you’re employed by an institution, you’re entrusting them to do the right thing by you or at the very least, be morally and constitutional correct; at the very minimum. But when it comes to being a celebrity your office is more than just clocking into whatever work you’re contracted to, for the time being, you’re subject to the office of public opinion by fans who somehow dictate your livelihood and trump your employer’s ideals because… money is to be made. At what point do we stop allowing the public the right to dictate the moral ground we stand on? And if it’s not that easy, at what point do we just disregard morals all together and just stick to the job? Is it ever “just a job”?

When Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel during the national anthem, it was realized two weeks later into the demonstration by NFL Network journalist, Steve Wyche, who asked Colin why he was kneeling,

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Seems pretty simple, right? Kneeling for the basic human rights of people who are murdered at the hands of those meant to protect us. And yet, it has divided the nation. Kaepernick wasn’t alone in this, soon after other players started to kneel with him in solidarity and belief that this country could do a better job in protecting and advocating for those who can’t speak anymore, one of those players was Eric Reid. At the age of 25, Reid was standing, or kneeling in this case, by Colin Kaepernick, full-fledged, willing to give everything for those who had lost everything.

It’s not something most 25-year-olds can imagine doing. Kneeling and protesting full time, while putting making millions of dollars in jeopardy, isn’t the career path most of us would’ve chosen. Let’s be honest here, at 25 most of us were just getting out of college trying to find a full-time job and yet, Reid is making millions and sacrificing it all… for those, he doesn’t even know. Now I understand, this platform was started by Kaepernick, but there has to be some appreciation for those in the league still continuing the message such as Reid, Kenny Stills of Miami and countless others; they’re on the line and a threat just as much.

But luckily for you, I’ve already written a piece concerning Kaepernick, which can be found here, this piece is concerning the NFL and the target they have on Eric Reid since he’s signed with the Carolina Panthers Sept 27.

Since you’ve been employed with your job, how many times have you been subjected to a background test? Me? Well, once when I was hired. Imagine being tested 6 times in two months, but told IT WAS AT RANDOM…

That’s what’s going on in Charlotte, NC with Eric Reid.

“I’ve been here seven, eight weeks. I’ve been drug tested six times,” Reid said after Sunday’s game. “It’s supposedly random but I know what I’m fighting against, I know who I’m fighting against. It’s tactics that they’re using for the collusion suit.”

But who is behind the selection of Reid being tested? Well, the NFLPA and NFL Management Council have jointly appointed Dr. John Lombardo of the World Anti-Doping Agency, to randomly select which players to test and the method… and somehow, Reid was “randomly” selected six times. Thanks to Marcel Louis-Jacques of the Charlotte Observer, he has mathematically done the work for us and found out the odds of Eric Reid being test 6 times during his eight weeks with the Panthers; the likelihood of Reid being selected five times in an eight-week stint is 1 in 500.

“I don’t have anything to hide. Secondly, this is supposed to be a random system. It doesn’t feel very random,” he said. “Plus, I’m privy to information that’s in my lawsuit that’s not free to the public. So I know who I’m going against and it’s not surprising in the least.”

“It’s kind of like stop-and-frisk,” he said, “where it’s like I know I’ve done nothing wrong, so I’m not concerned that I’ll fail that (drug) test. But the system’s lying, much like what I’m protesting … I’m not losing any sleep over it but it should be talked about. Just like stop-and-frisk, it’s wrong.”
But why just Reid? What is it about Reid that is causing the NFL such distress? Moreso than the others that are kneeling? His collision case or the fact he isn’t making the NFL job any easier might be the answer. Despite being signed, Reid has not backed down from media or reporters even furthering the cause and speaking out against those who did it for a check… Reid is aware that this is bigger than him and he’s fighting for more than just his job but for Kaepernick and every other player who wants to use their platform for something more than hurricane relief (and that’s no shade to those who do because that’s important too) but it’s also important to realize, we should be able to fight for black lives, equal rights and due justice without feeling shunned by fans, teammates and employers.
Being born black is more than just a new dance craves or hip-hop song, it’s living a life of targets on your back because of something you were born with; something you can never change. Living the life of an African American is not for those with a faint heart. For centuries we have been fighting for the right to exist and exist justifiably under the eyes and the system that brought us here unjustly. Living with being black is real and at times exhausting; Realer for some than others. And it’s not for everyone to understand or even defend, but it is our right as those living the life, to want better and to want more. For others to feel like we should give up and settle have no idea what its like to live with the bare minimum and told to adjust for others to be comfortable. To turn down our blackness because it maybe too much for some. But when it comes to copying our culture and mimicking our dance moves, blacks are all the rave… but as soon as we’re murdered, crickets.
I’m sure at 26 years old, Reid never envisioned being a sacrifice or even choosing between the career he loves and advocating for his best friend, but I can tell you this, he’s doing it headstrong and resilient. And no matter how many drug tests he has to complete or cases he has to fight, I hope he keeps kneeling, fighting and using his platform for the betterment of my future kids. What he’s doing is bigger than all of us, himself and football, its for a future that we haven’t even seen.

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