Eric Reid is one of the National Football League’s best safeties, yet for the past six months, he has been unemployed. Drafted in the first round in 2013, he has held a starting position ever since, as well as becoming an All-Pro safety. So how was one of the NFL’s hardest-hitting as well as the most dynamic defensive player still unemployed?As this article describes on September 27 of this year, the Carolina Panthers finally signed Eric Reid:
“I’m told the Panthers did NOT ask Eric Reid whether he would continue demonstrating. The signing was strictly a “football decision”. They believe he’s a good football player who can help them win.” -Jim Trotter, NFL analyst
After the signing, he was described as being at “the top of the list” by Carolina GM Marty Hurney. If you are wondering why this is such a big deal, Reid was the original player to begin the social justice protests with Colin Kaepernick. The two of them are both a part of a lawsuit against the NFL which states that the league and owners colluded to keep them out of the league. As well, in 2017 after Kaepernick was already in the league’s black book, Reid continued to take a knee and protest in support of the movement that Kaepernick began. For Eric Reid to sign in the NFL, it is a big step forward for Kaepernick, except it may still not mean he is getting back into the League.
Daniel Kane and Dr. Bonnie Tiell explain this through normative ethics, which states that normative ethics are the “virtues, values, ends, and practices generally considered by a society as being ‘good, right, correct, (or) best.'” This helps explain why current normative ethics in the NFL have played a large part in keeping these two players out of the league. It isn’t about these players taking a knee, it is about them going outside of what is normal and making league executives uncomfortable.
Now that Eric Reid has signed in the NFL after continuing to protest through the duration of his career as well as not agreeing to stop protesting with his new team, maybe normative ethics regarding this protest are beginning to change. Only time will tell, but this latest development will only benefit Kaep’s chances of a return to the NFL.