Eric Reid explains why he left Players Coalition
The Malcolm Jenkins-led Players Coalition was hit by some high-profile departures on Wednesday after conversations with the league moved toward a conclusion.
Though the league is reportedly finalizing a $100 million social justice initiative with the coalition, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Eric Reid announced he was leaving the group.
According to Reid, Jenkins never involved Colin Kaepernick in the discussions, and tried to get players to stop kneeling during the national anthem in exchange for the donation without the mandate of many players he allegedly represented.
“Malcolm did text me this morning asking if we would be comfortable ending our demonstrations if the NFL made a donation,” Reid said Wednesday, via Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press. “At that point, that was the last straw for me. He had a conversation with the NFL. We agreed that multiple people would be part of the conversations with the league so it just wouldn’t be him. He didn’t stand by his word on that. At no point did we ever communicate an agreement with the NFL to end the protest.”
Reid also noted that Jenkins, who does not kneel during the anthem but instead raises a fist, was negotiating on behalf of players who did kneel, which he did not like.
For his part, Jenkins said he was pleased with the progress the group had made, and wasn’t even sure Kaepernick wanted to be involved.
“I’m not sure about whether Kaepernick wants to be involved,” Jenkins said. “I saw this as an opportunity to create a group of players that could use their voice together to really make some change, and we still have that opportunity. We’ve been able to go from protests to now speaking with ownership about something that’s never been in place before. We’re proud of that. And we’ll continue to work with whoever wants to be in that conversation.”
The $100 million would surely help, but Reid certainly makes it sound like he viewed it as a payoff to get players to stop kneeling. If that’s his interpretation, it’s easy to see why he walked.