Devoted national anthem protester Eric Reid was cut suddenly by the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday.
Sports Illustrated reported Reid, despite being one of the team’s most talented safeties, was released with another year remaining on his contract.
“With the Panthers releasing Reid, they will eat up $5 million in dead money,” Sports Illustrated’s Schuyler Callihan reported.
As a member of the San Francisco 49ers in 2016, Reid joined teammate Colin Kaepernick in protesting the national anthem, saying in a statement that he did it to “bring awareness to issues of our country and helping to effectuate positive changes for the betterment of our communities.”
Among the issues Reid cited were “police discrimination and police brutality.”
His anthem protests carried on after he joined the Panthers in 2018, and he continued to take a knee last season after the NFL had seemingly worked to resolve the issue that had turned many fans away from the game.
ESPN’s Jeff Darlington wrote on Twitter that he was surprised by Panthers’ decision to cut the 28-year-old safety, who he said was considered “a great culture fit” for the organization.
“Slight surprise in Charlotte: The Panthers will be releasing safety Eric Reid, source says. Team saw him as a great culture fit, ownership/management really liked him, all seemed well. But team decided to instead go a different way at safety in free agency,” Darlington said.
Slight surprise in Charlotte: The Panthers will be releasing safety Eric Reid, source says. Team saw him as a great culture fit, ownership/management really liked him, all seemed well. But team decided to instead go a different way at safety in free agency.
— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) March 18, 2020
A number of his followers pointed out Reid’s dedication to protesting during the national anthem before games.
Let’s hope that scrum bag learns to stand for our flag, what comes around goes around Eric!
— Frank Pro (@frankprotwin) March 18, 2020
Let’s all take a knee in observance of Eric Reid’s unemployment.
— Greggers (@greguhree) March 18, 2020
Now he can play cards with Kap and trash the man..
— jrfromdallas (@DallasNYorker) March 18, 2020
For his part, Reid posted on Twitter that he is looking forward to continuing his career in a new city.
It’s been a pleasure Carolina! I enjoyed my time and the support I received from the fans, media, teammates, and staff there will be remembered. Looking forward to furthering my career in another city!
— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) March 18, 2020
He announced in July 2019 that he would continue his anthem protests even after the league and other protesters agreed to a settlement in which nearly $90 million would go toward “efforts and programs combating social inequality,” according to NFL.com.
“If a day comes that I feel like we’ve addressed those issues, and our people aren’t being discriminated against or being killed over traffic violations, then I’ll decide it’s time to stop protesting,” Reid told The Charlotte Observer. “I haven’t seen that happen.”
“We’ve got to keep fighting,” he continued. “Got to keep agitating. Got to keep making sure that we put pressure on the people who make the laws, and the decisions, in this country.”
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