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If you didn’t already know, the NFL conducts drug tests to ensure that their players are sticking to the guidelines in their contract. The NFL Player Contract prohibits any players from using drugs that will enhance or modify their performance. To keep everything just, these tests are done at random and can be applied to any given player. However, these tests don’t seem too just to Eric Reid, Carolina Panthers Defensive Safety. Reid has been selected for random drug testing for the seventh time in the past eleven weeks.
Eric Reid quickly took the issue to social media after being selected for the seventh time, and just like most controversial things posted on social media, it spread like wildfire. Just like the situation, the comment section blew up with opinions and theories of the NFL being biased.
Why Eric Reid?
If every player is being selected randomly, then what is the issue & couldn't this all just be coincidental?
The problem is that Reid is not like every other player. Eric Reid found himself in a controversial issue in his NFL 2016 - '17 season. Away from Reid's performance and stats, he was involved in a controversial uproar involving former San Francisco 49ers Quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. Before being signed to the Panther's on a one-year deal, Eric Reid played for the San Francisco 49ers alongside Kaepernick. During the 2016 season, Colin Kaepernick was found sitting during the National Anthem opposed to the traditional standing with your hand over your heart. After the game, Kaepernick stated in his post-game interview, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder." Kaepernick referred to the Black Lives Matter movement and the constant police brutality amongst people of color. Kaepernick goes on to say that he won't represent the flag until it represents the liberties and freedoms that are being sung about. This brought an abundance of controversy and spotlight onto not only the players but also the NFL as a whole. The heat really fired up after President Donald Trump made remarks about Kaepernick's decision to kneel saying, "I watched Colin Kaepernick, and I thought it was terrible, and then it got bigger and bigger and started mushrooming, and frankly the NFL should have suspended him for one game, and he would have never done it again."
Following behind Kaepernick, Eric Reid started to kneel at the games as well. Eric Reid became the second NFL player, after Kaepernick, to participate the protest of the U.S Anthem. Thereafter, the protest continued on to this day. Presently, Eric Reid is left with what feels like a target on his back for standing up for his civil liberties. The testing happens multiple times as if they are trying to catch him doing something wrong but Eric claimed he is a clean athlete and has no problem taking the test but it comes with great annoyance. According to Ryan Clark, ESPN NFL Analyst, different algorithms pull different people at different times but he has never been tested seven times in that amount of time and that Reid's case is rare.
Whether these are just coincidences or the NFL is targeting Reid, the protest will continue because as Reid and Kaepernick stand against adversity and lead the way, more people will speak out and join the fight against any unjust situation; no matter the cost.