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Panthers safety Eric Reid says Colin Kaepernick would help any team in the NFL

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —Sunday following the Panthers’ loss to the Falcons, safety Eric Reid stood in the locker room with media surrounding him wearing a black Colin Kaepernick jersey and sneakers with Kaepernick’s face on the back.

His message?

That every NFL team could use Kaepernick on its roster, including the Panthers. And that his workout the day prior had shown exactly that.

“Wait and see. All 32 teams could benefit from having a quarterback like Colin on their team. So now we wait and see,” Reid said. “I think we could use Colin’s help, I think every team could use Colin’s help. I would definitely be excited if he were here.”

With these comments coming after Kyle Allen threw four interceptions in a loss to the Falcons, it was natural to ask if Carolina perhaps needs a new quarterback on their roster more than most.

“You can’t blame Kyle for (the loss),” Reid said. “But again I stand by what I said. I think Colin could help our team.”

The free agent quarterback has not played in the NFL since 2016 when he and the 49ers parted ways. Kaepernick was the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem to protest social injustice and racial inequality.

The NFL had scheduled a workout with Kaepernick and invited all 32 teams to come see what he could do on the football field. The day didn’t go as the NFL had thought, but Reid stated that the result was what had been intended.

“The whole goal of this was to show everyone that Colin is ready to play this game,” Reid said. “He took his workout to a different location, and he showed that. He proved that. It was reported that his arm was elite. It’s always been that way.

“So why is the NFL, why is Jay Z, why are all these other pundits trying to slander Colin? For him protecting himself and wanting transparency. The goal is accomplished, Colin proved that he can play his game. He proved he can throw the ball. Elite, that’s what an NFL executive said.”

Reid is a former teammate of Kaepernick’s and a close friend, and he made a point of being in attendance even with a game the following day. He was also the first player to kneel by his side.

The safety did not need to clear his decision to visit Atlanta with the Panthers; he went in his free time and made it back for meetings Saturday night.

“Of course I’m going to be there for my brother,” Reid said. “Y’all have seen that. The way he fights for people, the way he fights for justice, I want to make sure I’m there supporting him, so I’m happy I was able to do that in the time that I was.”

Kaepernick’s session was originally scheduled at the Falcons’ facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia, that would include interviews and an on-field portion, similar to that of a combine or workout before an NFL team. But the workout ended up moving to Charles R. Drew High School in Riverdale, Ga., due to a dispute with the NFL over Kaepernick’s camp wanting it to be open to the media so that everyone could see what he was capable of.

Another issue between the NFL and Kaepernick was the liability waiver they asked him to sign. Reid said that the waiver included a portion that would have forced him to relinquish his employment rights now or in the future.

“A standard liability waiver for Colin’s workout is he accepts the condition of the field, there may be potholes in the field, the equipment that’s used in the workout may be defective and Colin accepts all of those conditions,” Reid said. “The standard is not to forfeit your employment rights for now or in the future. There’s nothing standard about that. Why would he sign that?”

In a statement released by the NFL on Saturday, the league stated that “on Wednesday, we sent Colin’s representatives a standard liability waiver based on the waiver used by National Invitational Camp at all NFL Combines and by NFL clubs when trying out free agent players. At noon (Saturday), Colin’s representatives sent a completely rewritten and insufficient waiver.”

Reid and Kaepernick previously filed a collusion grievance against the NFL, alleging that the league and its 32 team owners — influenced by President Donald Trump’s inflammatory remarks about kneeling players — colluded to prevent the pair’s employment.

They reached a confidential settlement with the NFL in February.

There has been many different interpretations concerning Kaepernick’s intent behind moving the workout to a different location. Instead of the approximately 25 teams that were prepared to observe him at the original location, only a reported eight came to the site. In addition, former NFL head coach Hue Jackson had come to assist in the initial workout, but did not go to the new location.

“We knew this was a PR stunt from the beginning and when we got the waiver, it was like, ‘Oh we see now. It’s the employment rights, you want him to forfeit his employment rights.’ So they never had Colin’s best interest at heart,” Reid said. “If that were the case, why were they making such a big deal about moving the workout? The point of the workout was accomplished. He showed all 32 NFL teams that he can still throw the ball and that he’s ready to go. And that’s the story.”

ESPN talent Stephen A. Smith put up a video Saturday night arguing that Kaepernick does not actually want to play in the NFL.

Reid fought back on Twitter and in his comments after the game Sunday.

“I ain’t got time for Stephen A. man,” Reid said. “Like I said in my tweet, he’s tap dancing around for the NFL. I understand that he has a show, and I probably gave him great content. Congratulations.”

While the Panthers did not have a representative at the workout, Reid reiterated that he had spoken last week to team owner David Tepper, who the safety said told him they would request a video of the workout.

While what’s next for Kaepernick is unknown, Reid feels strongly about the type of person he is.

“Can you imagine the mental fortitude it takes to stay in shape for three years while somebody is blackballing you for you wanting to stand up for people who have been wronged? For you fighting for injustice? It’s hard to describe the type of person he is,” Reid said.

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