Eric Reid made one tackle in the Carolina Panthers’ preseason loss to the Buffalo Bills on Friday night, but his biggest impact came after the final whistle blew. Reid is a longtime confident of former teammate and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and in recent days, he has used his platform to speak out against Jay-Z’s recent partnership with the NFL. It was announced earlier in the week that Hov would become the league’s new live music entertainment strategist, and on Friday, a report indicated he will become a part owner of an unnamed team.
Reid had already used Twitter to voice his discontent about the move, and following the game, Reid met with the press while wearing an #ImWithKap jersey. The former Pro Bowl safety didn’t mince his words, calling Jay-Z’s decision to go from vocally supporting Kaepernick (something Hov claims he still does) to joining forces with the league “kind of despicable.”
“Jay-Z claimed to be a supporter of Colin … and now he’s going to be a part owner. … It’s kind of despicable.”
Eric Reid spoke on reports that Jay-Z is interested in becoming part owner of an NFL team. pic.twitter.com/akYOt74rnE
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 17, 2019
“Jay-Z claimed to be a supporter of Colin, wore his jersey, told people not to perform at the Super Bowl because of the treatment that the NFL did to Colin, and now he’s gonna be a part owner and…,” Reid said before pausing. “It’s kind of despicable.”
This was hardly the only critique Reid had of Jay-Z. According to David Newton of ESPN, Reid compared Jay-Z’s new role with the role taken on by Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins as the head of the NFL Players Coalition, a group of players who look to promote social justice and racial equality. In the past, Reid has called Jenkins a “sellout” for joining forces with the league.
“I could be completely wrong, but since the $89 million announcement with the Players Coalition, what’s come of that?” Reid said. “We get to pretend we care about social justice. We get to pretend we care about the black community, and we get to hide behind Malcolm Jenkins’ face, and we get to hide behind Jay-Z’s face and not do anything.”
Reid has never been shy about pointing out where he sees injustice occurring — he was the first player to join Kaepernick in protesting systemic inequality and police brutality during the national anthem and filed a grievance against the league alleging that its owners colluded to keep him from joining a team prior to his joining the Panthers last year. It comes as no surprise, then, that this resonates with him to the extent it does, as a person he presumably viewed as an ally like Jay-Z is aligning himself with the league.
“For one, when has Jay-Z ever taken a knee to come out and tell us that we’re past kneeling?” Reid said. “Yes, he’s done a lot of great work, a lot of great social justice work. But for you to get paid to go into an NFL press conference and say that we’re past kneeling? Again, asinine. Players Coalition 2.0, he got paid to take the bullets he’s taking now because we’re not having it.”