Eric Reid Calls Malcolm Jenkins ‘Sellout’ After Confrontation

Eric Reid Calls Malcolm Jenkins ‘Sellout’ After Confrontation


Eric Reid, the Carolina Panthers safety known for protesting during the national anthem, has long been open about the contempt he holds for Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Malcolm Jenkins. That animosity spilled over into an on-field confrontation Sunday before the teams had even played a down.

After the coin toss, Reid approached Jenkins near midfield and the two appeared to exchange heated words, with Reid eventually being restrained by his teammate Torrey Smith. After the game, a 21-17 comeback victory for the Panthers, Reid said of Jenkins, “He’s a sellout.”

Reid, who joined Colin Kaepernick in protesting police brutality and societal inequality for people of color in 2016 by kneeling during the national anthem before games, has been at odds with Jenkins since November 2017. That is when Reid left a so-called Players’ Coalition led by Jenkins and Anquan Boldin because he thought Jenkins was leading the players down the wrong path, accepting an offer by the N.F.L. to make charitable donations in exchange for the players’ ending their on-field protests.

Jenkins, who had previously raised his fist during the national anthem, ended his protest after the coalition secured nearly $90 million in funding for its causes. He briefly protested again during this year’s preseason but has not done so during the regular season.

Reid, who began this season as a free agent before signing with the Panthers in late September, had harsh words for Jenkins after the game.

“We believe a lot of players should have stepped up for Colin,” Reid told reporters, referring to his belief that the players’ agreement failed because it did not include a promise to bring Kaepernick back into the league (Kaepernick is still unsigned). “I believe Malcolm capitalized on the situation. He co-opted the movement that was started by Colin to get his organization funded. It’s cowardly. He sold us out.”

Jenkins, when asked about the confrontation, tried to avoid turning the situation into a war of words.

“I’m not going to get up here and say anything negative about that man,” Jenkins said of Reid. “I respect him. I’m glad he has a job. I’m glad he’s back in the league. I’ll leave it like that.”

Reid’s aggressiveness did not stop with the pregame confrontation, however. He seemed to play with extra intensity all game, at one point tackling quarterback Carson Wentz well after he had handed the ball off. When Zach Ertz, the Eagles’ tight end, rushed in to intervene on Wentz’s behalf, Reid slammed him to the turf.

“He ran up on me,” Reid said. “That’s a football play. Whenever there’s an exchange, the quarterback is a running back.”

Reid went on to justify his intensity, saying: “I think it was James Baldwin that said, ‘To be black in America and to be relatively conscious is to be in a constant state of anger.’ I’m in a constant state of anger.”

Reid was playing just his third game for the Panthers after a difficult off-season in which he went unsigned despite being among the top available safeties in the N.F.L. A sixth-year player out of Louisiana State who went to the Pro Bowl in 2013, Reid filed a grievance against the N.F.L. stating that team owners had colluded to keep him out of a job. The grievance is still active.

Panthers Coach Ron Rivera, who had said that Reid was the top player on his list to replace safety Da’Norris Searcy when he was put on injured reserve, stuck by Reid after a game in which he had eight tackles and nearly intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter.

“As long as we’re able to keep him under control — I don’t even want to use that word ‘control’ — but as long as we’re able to try and get him calm so we can get focused and back on playing the game,” Rivera said, “I really do appreciate the effort he put in playing the game.”



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