Report: Bengals owner plans to prohibit national anthem protests
Houston Texans owner Bob McNair has gotten most of the attention this offseason for his strong stance against national anthem protests, but at least one of his fellow owners apparently feels just as strongly about the issue.
Free agent safety Eric Reid visited with the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday, and his participation in national anthem protests was reportedly a big topic of discussion. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Bengals owner Mike Brown had a conversation with Reid that centered “almost exclusively” on anthem protests, and it sounds like he wanted assurances that Reid will not partake in the demonstrations next season if the Bengals sign him.
Not only that, but Brown reportedly said he is planning to ban national anthem protests within his organization. More from Florio:
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.
Although Reid said previously he is not planning to kneel in 2018, he seemed unwilling to make any promises. 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.