Eric Reid doesn’t play for the Buffalo Bills but lately he’s clearly been listening to Buffalo Springfield and it’s classic protest song, “For What It’s Worth.’’
Reid and former 49ers’ Super Bowl quarterback Colin Kaepernick were for all intents and purposes blackballed out of pro football in my opinion before Reid finally signed with the Carolina Panthers six weeks ago nearly a year after they filed a collusion lawsuit against the league and its owners. Kaepernick remains exiled to Nike’s advertising team.
Despite finally landing a job, Reid continues to kneel during the National Anthem, which is his Constitutional right, but Panthers owner David Tepper is not named in his lawsuit because he did not own the franchise at the time it was filed. Tepper has been outspoken in his criticism of President Donald Trump’s harsh remarks about protesting players and has said he supports their right to express themselves as they see fit.
Following being ejected a week ago for a borderline late hit on Ben Roethlisberger, Reid not only protested the wisdom of the call but claimed he was being unfairly and suspiciously targeted by repeated drug testing by the league. He also professed to not know you could even be thrown out of a game.
Well, as Stephen Stills wrote in November, 1966 following the Sunset Strip curfews: (WONDER IF SHAY CAN INSERT THIS LATER CLARK??).
“Paranoia strikes deep
Into Your Life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
Step out of line, the men come and take you away.’’
Whether the NFL is trying to take Reid away, or at least find a reason to make him go away, the issue of being repeatedly drug tested does not seem BOGUS to me.
The NFL testing policy, which was negotiated with the players’ union, is allegedly “random.’’ Reid was tested when he initially signed, as was required, but has since been tested four times in six weeks. That doesn’t seem “random.’’ It seems BOGUS.
The day after Reid cried foul, the league issued a statement that 10 players are “randomly’’ picked by a computer each week. While true it seems something more than random when the same guy is selected four times in six weeks from among nearly 100 eligible players, including those on injured reserve and the practice squad. If hitting 21 in blackjack was that random we’d all be retired to Aruba.
Reid may be paranoid after he and Kaepernick began quietly taking a knee during the Anthem to protest police brutality and other societal ills that fall most heavily on people of color but that doesn’t mean no one is chasing him.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera felt the expulsion of Reid was not warranted and if you look at the hit, it is difficult to see why it would be but, hey, paranoia strikes deep so maybe it was.
What bears watching if how many more times Eric Reid’s name “randomly’’ comes up on the drug testing list in the remaining weeks of the season. I’d say it’s BOGUS if it does and if it doesn’t, well, Steve Stills had the words for that, too when he wrote:
We better stop
Hey, what's that sound?
Everybody look - what's going down?
Nothing BOGUS about that.