According to a report from Pro Football Talk, Bengals Owner Mike Brown told anthem-protesting free agent safety Eric Reid, that he intends to ban anthem protests on his team.
The meeting between the Bengals and Eric Reid received significant media attention because Reid, the first player to join Colin Kaepernick in his anthem protests, had not had a single free agent visit all offseason.
Reid had protested his lack of free agent interest on Twitter earlier this offseason, by claiming that NFL teams were ignoring him due to his political activism.
The notion that I can be a great signing for your team for cheap, not because of my skill set but because I’ve protested systemic oppression, is ludicrous. If you think is, then your mindset is part of the problem too.
— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) March 15, 2018
Because of tweets like that, Reid’s meeting with the Bengals gained significant media attention. However, thanks to a report from Mike Florio’s Pro Football Talk, there’s now significant media attention after the meeting as well.
According to Florio, when Bengals Owner Mike Brown sat down with Reid, their conversation centered “almost exclusively” on anthem protests. More importantly, according to Florio’s source, Mike Brown plans to prohibit anthem protests altogether.
Brown, according to the source, initiated discussion regarding the issue of kneeling during the anthem. The conversation almost exclusively centered on the topic, with Brown explaining that he intends to prohibit it — and with Brown at one point asking Reid for his response.
Reid, caught off guard by the line of questioning, wasn’t willing to make a commitment on the spot. Last month, Reid said he’s currently not planning to kneel or otherwise demonstrate during the anthem. But Reid, who is considering other options for bringing attention to societal issues he considers to be important, hasn’t made any final decisions, and he wasn’t willing to do so at the direct request and behest of Brown.
According to Larry Brown Sports, “Florio adds that he took a physical and met with some members of the coaching staff after talking with Brown, and Reid got the impression the team wanted to sign him. However, Marvin Lewis asked him at one point if he wants to clarify anything he told Brown during the discussion about anthem protests, and Reid did not have anything to add.
“Reid was previously part of the Players Coalition that was working with the NFL on issues of social injustice, but he left when he felt his goals were no longer aligned with the group’s. The Bengals did not make a formal offer to Reid, and it’s unclear if his stance on national anthem protests will impact their interest in him.”
It’s odd that Reid wasn’t willing to commit to standing for the anthem this year, since he’s already publicly announced that he would.
If Reid is unwilling to guarantee that he’ll stop protesting the anthem, his free agency troubles could continue.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn