The relationship between safeties Eric Reid and Malcolm Jenkins has been tumultuous for awhile.
Reid, a Pro Bowl defensive back now playing with the Panthers, has been vocal about his feelings towards Jenkins, a two-time Pro Bowl player himself and co-found of the Players Coalition with former wide receiver Anquan Boldin. The coalition, a non-profit organization governed by 12 NFL players, included Jenkins, Boldin, fellow Eagle Chris Long and at one point Reid, among others.
Earlier in the year, it was reported by ESPN’s The Undefeated that Reid was questioning the coalition’s agenda. In text messages obtained by The Undefeated, Reid not only asked for the separation of the organization, but wanted clarification on its stance, which he felt was sullied.
“Before I even consider attending this meeting and asking Colin (Kaepernick) to attend are we in agreement that the agenda for this will be to discuss the logistics behind separating the coalition — which has always been focused on criminal justice reform — from a new entity in which Colin will be at the helm and the protesting players (will) move forward in communication with the NFL to address the systematic oppression of black and brown people? Then, yes, I will try to make it on Tuesday or find another day that works for all of us. If not, there’s no point in having a meeting.”
When the two met before Sunday’s game at Lincoln Financial Field, Reid — one of the first players to join former quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest of police brutality and racial injustice when the pair played for the 49ers — again shared his feelings, this time directly to Jenkins.
Reid called Jenkins a “sell out” and would later explain his reasoning.
“I believe there’s a lot of players who have stepped up for Colin,” Reid told reporters after the game.
“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.”
“He sold us out.”
Eric Reid speaks on out Malcolm Jenkins pic.twitter.com/OaVKEiqr6N
— Master (@MasterTes) October 21, 2018
Jenkins offered a response: “I would never get up here and say anything bad about somebody who I know whose intentions were real about helping the community, especially another black man … 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.”
Malcolm Jenkins responds to being called a “sellout” by Eric Reid. pic.twitter.com/rYpcvyvRov
— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) October 21, 2018
In May 2018, Jenkins’s coalition finalized a partnership with the NFL that was to dedicate “close to $90 million for efforts and programs combating social inequality.”
“We would rather not be demonstrating or protesting,” Jenkins told Sports Illustrated in September 2017. “The only reason that we feel it necessary is that guys have been doing work on their own in these areas, whether it be racial justice, social justice, criminal justice reform or civil rights.”
Nearly six months before that, Reid left the coalition after Jenkins was working directly with the league without the knowledge of players and speaking on behalf of the protesting players without talking to them directly, according to an SB Nation report.
“(We’re not) satisfied with the structure of the Coalition or the communication that Malcolm has been having with the NFL on his own, speaking on behalf of protesting players,” Reid said in December 2017.
Again on Sunday, he reiterated this message.
“He was corrupt from the jump,” Reid told reporters. “He knew what he was doing from the offset. His goal was to sell us out, and he did that.”
Among Eric Reid’s many strong postgame comments about the Players Coalition and Malcolm Jenkins: “He was corrupt from the jump. He knew what he was doing from the offset. His goal was to sell us out, and he did that.”
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 21, 2018
Shortly after the game, where the Panthers put up 21 unanswered fourth-quarter points to come back from a 17-0 deficit for the win, Kaepernick offered some support for his longtime friend.
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) October 21, 2018
Reid, who joined the Carolina organization three weeks into the 2018-19 regular season, has continued protesting police brutality and racial injustice two years after Kaepernick started the movement. He will continue to kneel during the playing of the national anthem to try and push for systemic change.