While wearing a black t-shirt with the hashtag “#ImWithKap” in black letters emblazoned over a white bar, the newest Panthers player Eric Reid spoke to reporters in Charlotte on Monday. Reid admitted he is looking at different ways to protest social injustice and racial inequality on the field without kneeling during the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

“I’m still evaluating the scope of our country, and I’ll make that decision later,” Reid told reporters Monday.

He said the issue of his protests had not arisen during talks with the Panthers, while admitting he had been caught off guard by the team’s approach.

“When I got the call I had just finished working out,” Reid said. “I was, OK, this is surprising.”

Reid signed a one-year deal potentially worth up to $2 million with playing time and Pro Bowl incentives. He will earn $1,214,286 in base salary, with $390,000 in 46-man roster bonuses for a total of $1.39 million and a salary cap figure of $1.69 million.

Reid was signed after starting safety Da’Norris Searcy was placed on injured reserve after suffering his second concussion in less than 30 days.

Reid practiced with the first team and took 60 percent of the defensive snaps. He was also given jersey number 25.

Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera meanwhile said the decision to sign Reid was purely a “football decision.”

“It made sense to look at the board and say, ‘OK, who’s the best available player? Who’s the best available veteran player that could come in and add to your team right away,'” Rivera said.

In addition, Rivera and Reid discussed how they felt about protests during the Star-Spangled Banner. Rivera, who grew up in a military family, has been adamant that players should stand and show respect even though he’s never made that mandatory.

“We feel good about who he is a young man and who we are as an organization,” Rivera said. “Probably the biggest question he asked me really was, ‘What would you say your base fronts of coverage are?’ He just seemed ready to roll.”

In 2016, Reid was the first player to join Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the Star-Spangled Banner to protest racial inequality and police brutality.

In May, the NFL Players Association filed a grievance against the NFL on Reid’s behalf, alleging that team owners and the league, influenced by President Donald Trump, colluded to prevent his employment because of his protests. Kaepernick, who filed a similar grievance in October 2017, remains unsigned. The grievance will continue while Reid is under contract with the Panthers.

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...

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