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National Anthem Protester Eric Reid Finally Invited to First Free Agent Visit

AP Marcio Jose Sanchez ER
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Former San Francisco 49er and national anthem protester Eric Reid, has finally been given a shot at being picked up by another team since he turned free agent after last season.

Reid was one of the first players to join teammate Colin Kaepernick in his anthem protest, but since becoming a free agent, he has been ignored by the league.

Until now.

The 2013 Pro Bowl player is now scheduled to visit the Cincinnati Bengals. It is the first team that has shown any interest at all since Reid started his free agency on March 14, according to NFL.com.

The long period of inactivity caused murmurs throughout the league that Reid was being blackballed because of his long-standing protests against the country throughout last season.

Reid himself complained about the long drought of interest and claimed that it was because of his protesting.

Other players also insisted that Reid was being blackballed over his political activism. Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, for instance, said Reid was not being ignored based on his talent.

“It would be hard to say that he’s not getting any calls just on talent alone,” Jenkins told ESPN on March 35. “I think any team that is considering him is going to weigh his political views and the strong stance that he’s taken the last couple years, and that’s unfortunate, but it’s just kind of what it is. So hopefully, teams will look past that and evaluate him as a player, and I think as a player he deserves a spot in this league. But I’d be kidding myself if I said that his stance isn’t playing a role in him not having a call yet.”

Reid compounded his strict political stance when he broke from a group of players attempting to get the NFL to support social justice issues. Last year, a group of players negotiated with the NFL and succeeded in convincing the league to spend $89 million on social justice issues, but Reid split from the group saying the package was not good enough.

Still, despite protesting for two seasons, the 2013 first round, 18th pick said that he would not be protesting during the anthem in the future.

“I’m not saying I’m going to stop being active because I won’t,” Reid said last month. “I’m just going to consider different ways to be active, different ways to bring awareness to the issues of this country and improve on the issues happening in this country.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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