Eric Reid blasted the NFL and Jay-Z on Sunday while declaring that Colin Kaepernick proved he’s ready to play in the NFL in the aftermath of the free agent quarterback’s much-publicized workout on Saturday.
Reid, the Carolina Panthers safety and an outspoken supporter and ally of Kaepernick’s in his social justice campaign, criticized the process of the workout while praising the results in a postgame media scrum on Sunday.
“Why is the NFL, why is Jay-Z, why is all these other pundits trying to slander Colin for him protecting himself and wanting transparency?” Reid said to reporters after Sunday’s Panthers loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
Kaepernick’s team changed the workout venue on Saturday when the NFL wouldn’t allow independent media to attend, and he received criticism from some for the last-minute alteration.
The presumed pundit here is ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who criticized Kaepernick for the venue change then lashed out at Reid on Twitter when the Panthers safety criticized him.
‘The goal was accomplished’
Despite the controversy, Reid said that Kaepernick proved himself during the workout while praising him for staying prepared during his three-year hiatus from the NFL.
“The goal was accomplished,” Reid said. “He proved he can play this game. He proved he can throw the ball. Elite. That's what an NFL executive said.”
"He's been working out every day for three years. Can you imagine the mental fortitude it takes to stay in shape for three years while somebody is blackballing you for you wanting to stand up for people who have been wronged?”
Reid referred to a tweet from ESPN’s Adam Schefter quoting an anonymous NFL executive referring to Kaepernick’s arm talent as “elite.”
Reid: NFL wanted to ‘control the narrative’
Reid, who said he attended the workout independent of the Panthers, continued to defend Kaepernick’s choice to change the venue, stressing the importance of independent media verification.
“The proof of the workout was to show he can play the game, was to show he can throw the ball, and he did that,” Reid said. “The NFL wanted to control the narrative by not letting independent NFL media into the workout to document the workout.
"They wouldn't even tell him who was going to run his routes for him. They wouldn't even give him a script for the workout. Is Colin supposed to trust an organization that has blackballed him? He's not that naive."
The Panthers did not send a representative to the workout. Reid didn’t criticize his employer, but said that he would welcome Kaepernick in the aftermath of a 29-3 loss that saw quarterback Kyle Allen throw four interceptions.
Reid would welcome Kaepernick in Carolina
He didn’t pin blame on Allen but said that Carolina could benefit from Kaepernick’s presence.
“I think we could use Colin’s help,” Reid said. “I think every team in the league could use Colin’s help. I would definitely be excited if he were here.”
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