In an interview with Slate.com, San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid said that the NFL plans to shift money from breast cancer awareness programs and veteran support campaigns to fund causes “important to African-American communities,” including criminal justice reform and police accountability programs.
According to Reid, who withdrew from the NFL Players Coalition, which brokered the $89 million deal, the plan is “a charade” and a ploy to silence player protests.
Salute to Service and Breast Cancer Awareness, Reid told Slate, are the two charities that will be affected by the redistribution of money into the $89 million program, which the NFL will disperse over seven years.
The NFL negotiated the deal as a means of appeasing the NFL Players Coalition, led by Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles. In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Jenkins said he “has been encouraged by the NFL’s efforts” and that he plans to stop raising his fist in protest during the national anthem:
I don’t anticipate demonstrating this week simply because I felt like, when I started demonstrating, my whole motivation was to draw awareness to disenfranchised people, communities of color, injustices around the country, our criminal justice system and obviously, through this year and talking with the league and what they’ve kind of proposed … has presented a bigger and better platform to continue to raise that awareness.
Jenkins balked at Reid’s allegations that the NFL will fund social justice programs using funds from other charities.
“I think that is a misunderstanding,” Jenkins said. “[The money] is coming out of the NFL Foundation. … We are being added to that. How those funds are being [raised], I don’t know.”
Reid countered Jenkins’ claims.
“In the discussion that we had, Malcolm [Jenkins] conveyed to us — based on discussions that he had with the NFL — that the money would come from funds that are already allocated to breast cancer awareness and Salute to Service,” Reid told Slate. “So it would really be no skin off the owners’ backs: They would just move the money from those programs to this one.”
Michael Thomas, who plays wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints, echoed Reid’s feelings in a Nov. 29 tweet:
— Michael Thomas (@Michael31Thomas) November 29, 2017
Reid, 25, the first player to kneel alongside fellow 49er Colin Kaepernick last year, will be a free agent at the end of the 2017-18 season. In the interview with Slate, he emphasized that “the end (of racial inequality) isn’t in sight in this country. So, for me, protesting is the only way I feel comfortable with saying I’m doing the right thing.”
Reid said he will continue to kneel.