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The Hilltop


Blackballed for Protest: From Mahmoud Abdul Rauf to Eric Reid

By: Lawrence Dow, Sports Editor (@LJeeeeezy)


Eric Reid was one of the first players to kneel alongside Colin Kaepernick while they were both teammates for the San Francisco 49ers during the 20162017 season. Reid continued his protest this season, repeatedly kneeling during the season.

As a free agent this year, Reid has yet to be signed. Other top safety free agents such as Tyrann Mathieu, LaMarcus Joyner, and Morgan Burnett have all been signed.

Reid is rated by Pro Football Focus as an above average player at his position, so many have wondered if his protests against police brutality have cost him a job in the NFL much like they have cost Kaepernick.

While the NBA has been praised for what has been seen as its more socially liberal stance, its owners reacted much the same to Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf as NFL owners did for Colin Kaepernick. Abdul-Rauf was a basketball player for the Denver Nuggets when he started his own protest during the national anthem to bring light to what he perceived as the United States’ long history of tyranny and aggression against Muslims. Abdul-Rauf would be suspended for only one game but would be quickly traded and would find it impossible to even get a try out though he was 29 and coming off one of his finest seasons in the league.

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Abdul-Rauf would be forced to go overseas to attempt to continue his career, only ever playing one more season while averaging a paltry 12 minutes a game for the Vancouver Grizzlies. Abdul-Rauf’s story is one that exploded in recent months in the same vein as the focus on the lack of a contract for Colin Kaepernick.

As Kaepernick has continued to go unsigned as far inferior quarterbacks have been signed, many have prognosticated that Kaepernick will never play another snap in the NFL. This is not a universally held belief as Jon Gruden, head coach of the Oakland Raiders, believes Kaepernick will soon be signed due to what he describes as a lot of interest in the quarterback. Kaepernick has stayed in football shape and even recently held a workout to prove his football skills have not deteriorated.

Whether or not Kaepernick and Reid get signed, it is clear that their protest achieved its goal of reminding the American people about the injustices they feel are faced by African-Americans in the United States of America. Abdul-Rauf said he never regretted protesting during the national anthem even though he lost his career over it because he always had a clear conscious. Hopefully, Kaepernick and Reid will get to have clear consciousness without having to sacrifice their careers like Abdul-Rauf was forced to.


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