Before the intense game between the Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles, two prominent players from each team had to be separated over a disagreement about the kneeling protests.
Carolina Panthers defensive back Eric Reid, who played with Colin Kaepernick, confronted Eagles player Malcolm Jenkins on the field during the pre-game coin toss.
The tension between the two became palpable after Reid left Jenkins’ Players Coalition when the organization considered having the protests stop if the NFL donated nearly $100 million to organization approved by the group.
In the end, the group, led by Jenkins and Anquan Boldin, agreed to a deal, resulting in the NFL donating $90 million to organizations supported by the players
After the deal, Reid split from Jenkins, whom he said wasn’t the best leader for their movement. He also called Jenkins a “sellout” and “neo-colonialist” for excluding Kaepernick from meetings and failing to negotiate for him to be put on a team, reported Yahoo Sports.
“We believe a lot of players should have stepped up for Colin,” Reid, 26, said 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.”
Jenkins, 30, didn’t say much about Reid’s comments.
“I’m not going to get up here and say anything negative about that man,” he told reporters.
“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.”
Kaepernick sided with his former teammate and sent a supportive tweet.
Carolina ended up taking the win with a final score of 21-17.
After Kaepernick started the kneeling protests, Jenkins, along with several other NFL players, helped create The Players Coalition to help battle social justice issues. In Nov. 2017, Reid and other players left the coalition, permanently fracturing the group.