NFL and NFL Players Association determine Eric Reid was not unfairly targeted with drug tests
The safety was tested seven times this season
12:06 PMCarolina Panthers safety Eric Reid, who suggested that the NFL has used its drug-testing program to harass him because of his pending collusion grievance against the league, was not unfairly targeted in the random procedure, the NFL and the NFL Players Association announced in a joint statement Wednesday.
Although Reid revealed he was tested seven times since signing with the Panthers in late September 2018, he was not tested inordinately under the terms of the program, according to a report that both the NFL and NFLPA cited in the statement:
“We take any claim questioning the integrity of our collectively bargained performance enhancing drug policy seriously. We asked the independent administrator of the policy to review and produce a report on the claims of targeting. A copy of this report, which contains personal and confidential testing information, has been provided to Eric Reid. We will not breach any player’s confidentiality, but can confirm that the report documents the dates he was randomly selected for testing and the actual dates of the drug tests. The report also demonstrates that Mr. Reid’s tests were randomly generated via computer algorithm and that his selection for testing was normal when compared with the number of tests players were randomly selected for throughout the league during the time that he was on an active roster. There is no evidence of targeting or any other impropriety with respect to his selection for testing.”
Reid was the first player to kneel alongside former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who demonstrated during the national anthem more than two years ago to shine a light on police brutality and systemic oppression.
In May 2018, Reid, who started 69 of the 70 games in which he played during his five seasons in San Francisco, filed a grievance under the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement alleging that owners have conspired to shut him out because of his political activism — the same process Kaepernick initiated back in October 2017. Both Kaepernick and Reid, close friends who are being represented by the same lawyers, believe their decision to demonstrate during the national anthem is the primary reason they’re not on a roster.
Reid became a free agent when his contract expired after the 2017 season. After initially having an unexpectedly hard time finding work, Reid started 13 games for the Panthers this season.
Although it wasn’t shocking that Reid went unsigned at the outset of free agency (teams rarely pursue safeties early in the process), eyebrows were raised as he remained on the sidelines throughout training camp and the first three weeks of the season. Other than the Cincinnati Bengals, whom Reid visited last April, other teams did not show interest in him despite his solid performance with San Francisco, which included a Pro Bowl selection after his rookie season.
Moreover, Bengals owner Mike Brown allegedly questioned Reid about his plans to protest during the playing of the national anthem, stirring speculation that teams backed away from Reid because of his activism. The Panthers were in need of a proven veteran in September of this season because veteran safety Da’Norris Searcy was placed on injured reserve after suffering his second concussion in a month. Wide receiver Torrey Smith, who’s among the league’s most socially conscious players, lobbied for Carolina to sign Reid.
Unsigned throughout the offseason, training camp, the preseason and the first few weeks of the regular season, Reid previously discussed considering other ways to draw attention to his stance. The Panthers did not ask Reid about his plans before he signed, he said, and he has mulled his options. In the end, Reid reverted to what worked best for him, continuing to take a knee during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”