In Thursday night’s Carolina-New England preseason game, Panthers safety Eric Reid delivered a late hit on Patriots tight end Ben Watson while he was on the ground.
Reid dove into Watson’s head after a teammate had already tackled the tight end. Due to the hit, Watson’s in the league’s concussion protocol.
Here's the late hit by Eric Reid on Ben Watson which led to a possible injury for Watson.pic.twitter.com/ck4dMxga35
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) August 23, 2019
Some wonder if Reid’s late hit on Watson was related to the tight end calling out the the safety on Twitter about his criticism of the NFL Player’s Coalition, led by Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, making an $89 million deal with the NFL to fund social justice causes.
“Yes @E_Reid35 you are wrong!” tweeted Watson. “You know the work many of us including @MalcolmJenkins have done. No one entity owns this movement. We are all a continuation of the generations who fought before us. We need each other.”
Quote starts with “"I could be completely wrong, but since…”
Yes @E_Reid35 you are wrong! You know the work many of us including @MalcolmJenkins have done. No one entity owns this movement. We are all a continuation of the generations who fought before us. We need each other https://t.co/C154KIvD1X
— Benjamin Watson (@BenjaminSWatson) August 18, 2019
Watson was responding to a tweet from Tiffany Cross, managing editor of TheBeatDC. Cross tweeted the following quote from Reid criticizing the Player’s Coalition: “Since the $89 mil announcement with the Players Coalition, what’s come of that? 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’ and Jay-Z’s face and not do anything.”
Jay-Z, a very successful musical artist, announced last week he will be working with the NFL on social justice initiatives and halftime shows.
Reid quit the Player’s Coalition in 2017 over their deal with the NFL, and has made it clear he’s not happy with Jay-Z’s agreeing to work with the NFL. He’s angry at the league and NFL teams over former NFL QB Colin Kaepernick not having a job. Kaepernick began the anthem-kneeling movement in 2016, in his words, to bring light to social injustices, and was joined by then-teammate Reid. The safety went unsigned in 2018 free agency until late September when he inked a deal with Carolina. They both sued the league for colluding against them, and settled for an undisclosed amount.
When a fan blasted Reid on Twitter for criticizing Jay-Z, he responded: “You & some others seem to misunderstand that we had no beef with the NFL until they started perpetuating the systemic oppression that we are fighting by blackballing Colin and then me. Nah I won’t quit playing but I will be a royal pain in the NFL’s a** for acting like they care about people of color by forming numerous disingenuous partnerships to address social injustice while collectively blackballing Colin, the person who brought oppression and social injustice to the forefront of the NFL platform.”
Reid said after the game the late hit wasn’t related to Watson disagreeing with him on Twitter.
“I was just trying to stop him from getting the first down,” Reid told reporters after the game “I looked at the replay and, yeah, he was down. We’ll see what the league do with it. I’m sure I’ll end up getting a fine, but I’m just playing the game.”
Reid added that his coach told him the hit was late.
“I talked to Ron (Rivera),” Reid said. “He told me it was late. I’ll look at the film, (but) if Ron said it was late I believe him.”
If Reid did it on purpose, it’s unlikely he would admit it, because he would likely get suspended and levied with a heavy fine. Reid will probably get fined for the hit, but if he admitted it was premeditated to settle a score, the league punishment would likely be more severe.
After the hit, Watson was taken to the locker room for medical evaluation and did not return to the game.