Sport: Column: What's the difference between Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid today and past protests? - PressFrom - US
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Sport Column: What's the difference between Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid today and past protests?

16:50  11 october  2018
16:50  11 october  2018 Source:   usatoday.com

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Colin Kaepernick , right, and Eric Reid kneeling during the national anthem before an N.F.L. game last year.CreditCreditMarcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press. 49ers safety Eric Reid joined Colin Kaepernick in protesting the national anthem ahead of Thursday’ s preseason game.

Paul Daugherty: What ' s the difference between Colin Kaepernick , Eric Reid today and Tommie Smith then? If we are to propose that racial relations are Last spring, the Bengals brought in veteran free agent safety Eric Reid for a tryout. Reid and Kaepernick had been teammates in San Francisco.

In this Oct. 16, 1968, file photo, extending gloved hands skyward in racial protest, U.S. athletes Tommie Smith, center, and John Carlos stare downward during the playing of © The Associated Press In this Oct. 16, 1968, file photo, extending gloved hands skyward in racial protest, U.S. athletes Tommie Smith, center, and John Carlos stare downward during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" after Smith received the gold and Carlos the bronze medal in the 200 meter run at the Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City. Australian silver medalist Peter Norman is at left.

As Mike Brown recalls it, Tommie Smith was an idea hatched in a dorm room at Wilmington College that doubled as Paul Brown’s office in the training-camp summer of 1969. “He has been contacted by a lot of teams,’’ the Great Man said then. “One thing is certain. He’s fast enough.’’

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Colin Kaepernick , right, and Eric Reid kneeling during the national anthem before an N.F.L. game I wanted to do something, but didn’t know what or how to do it. All I knew for sure is that I wanted it to be as A few weeks later, during preseason, my teammate Colin Kaepernick chose to sit on the bench

49ers’ Eric Reid joins Colin Kaepernick in protesting national anthem. Kaepernick has decided not to stand for the national anthem during the preseason in protest of racial inequalities and injustices taking place in America, including police-related violence.

The L.A. Rams had drafted Smith in the 9th round in 1967 and cut him. His pass-receiving skills never equaled his sprinting ability.  Two years later, the Bengals were still interested.

It was quite the two years.

Smith won Olympic gold in the 200 meters at the ’68 Olympics, then shocked the world by using the medal stand as a place to protest racial discrimination. You do remember Smith, head bowed, fist thrust upward, the National Anthem in full throat.

That was 50 years ago this week. Forty-nine seasons ago, Bengals wide receivers coach Bill Walsh called Smith and offered him $300 a week to play on what was then called the Taxi Squad.

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The protests began in the National Football League (NFL) after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat and later knelt during the Kaepernick and his 49ers teammate Eric Reid say they choose to kneel during the anthem to call attention to the issues of racial inequality and police brutality.

Colin Kaepernick was alone in his early protests , but San Francisco safety Eric Reid expressed support for Kaepernick prior to the game and showed it during the "We respectfully disagree with her method of hijacking our organization' s event to draw attention to what is ultimately a personal -- albeit

Almost no one said a thing about it. Not locally, not nationally, not among NFL team owners. “I don’t have any recollection of anyone confronting him, or us,’’ Mike Brown said Wednesday. “Letters didn’t come in. It was treated respectfully."

We’ll deal with the spectacular irony in that momentarily. And we’ll ask Mike Brown if he’d sign Tommie Smith today. First, a little about the Bengals Grand Experiment.

a couple of people that are talking to each other: JULY 13, 1969: Olympic sprint champion Tommie Smith, right, gets his gear from equipment manager Tom Gray.© Enquirer file JULY 13, 1969: Olympic sprint champion Tommie Smith, right, gets his gear from equipment manager Tom Gray.

“Tommy was a teddy bear,’’ Brown recalled. A lithe teddy bear, at 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds. “Linear,’’ Brown called him. “Very soft-spoken, very likable.’’ The Bengals had visions of Smith becoming the next Bob Hayes. “In our business, if they can really run, it appeals to us,’’ Brown said. “Maybe we can make something out of that.’’

They tried for three years. Smith was fast, but his strides were long. He could beat anyone across 100 yards. But the football-speed he needed across 40 yards wasn’t there. “It takes me six or seven strides to get going,’’ Smith told the Santa Rosa (Cal.) Press Democrat a few years ago. His Bengals career consisted of three seasons, two games and one reception, a 41-yarder against Oakland in 1969.

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Colin Kaepernick and San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid kneeled during the national anthem on Thursday night, continuing the quarterback’ s preseason protest against American racial injustice and minority oppression. Kaepernick and Reid dropped to one knee while a naval officer sang The

From left, Eric Reid , Colin Kaepernick and Eli Harold knelt during the national anthem before an N.F.L. game against the Seahawks last Some football fans saw Kaepernick as a second-string has-been looking for attention. “The actual point of protest is to disrupt how we move about our daily lives

As Mike Brown explained (in a fashion that only Mike Brown can), “All the nuances of being a receiver at this level were foreign to him. We stayed with him because he had that awesome speed, and part too because we liked him.’’

“I got the NFL record for the biggest yards-per-catch average by a wide receiver,” Smith told the Press-Democrat. “I came over the middle, reached for the pass and (Raiders safety) George Atkinson clobbered me. Dislocated my shoulder.’’

That Tommie Smith was more of a sociology project in the NFL than a successful wide receiver was not surprising. What was surprising – and grows moreso every day – was that he was a minor sociology project.

If we are to propose that racial relations are better in America today than they were half a century ago, how do we explain the disparity in reactions between what Smith did on the medal stand and what Colin Kaepernick and others did on the sideline during the Anthem?

Compared to the controversy Kaepernick has generated, Smith was Paul McCartney up there singing I Wanna Hold Your Hand.

Of course, as Brown points out, Smith gestured just once, and it wasn’t on an NFL sideline. There was no internet in ‘68, no social media, no worldwide platform from which to spew.

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“The players (now) commandeer our platform to send their message,’’ Brown said. “We argue that during our presentation of our product, we should have control. Others should not be down there, sending a message of their desire, whatever it is.’’

Last spring, the Bengals brought in veteran free agent safety Eric Reid for a tryout. Reid and Kaepernick had been teammates in San Francisco. Both knelt during the Anthem while there.

a man looking at the camera: Carolina Panthers defensive back Eric Reid (25) kneels during the National Anthem prior to the game against the New York Giants at Bank of America Stadium.© Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports Carolina Panthers defensive back Eric Reid (25) kneels during the National Anthem prior to the game against the New York Giants at Bank of America Stadium.

Reid has claimed Mike Brown asked him if he planned on continuing to protest, should the Bengals offer him a job. Brown declined comment Wednesday, because the team and Reid remain in arbitration over Reid’s assertion that Brown negotiated in bad faith.

The larger issue remains. How different was Reid’s case from Tommie Smith’s? And why has the national reaction been so different? As Brown said, “History is repeating itself.’’

Smith left the Bengals, earned his Masters in Sociology and spent 20 years teaching and coaching track, at Oberlin College and Santa Monica College. He lives now in suburban Atlanta. “I’d rather be disliked for who I am than loved for who I am not,’’ Smith told the Press-Democrat.

“I don’t know that many people understood exactly what he was trying to convey’’ in 1968, Brown said. “It wasn’t clear to me at the time. Today, I don’t know what the (Anthem) message is. It seems to be subsiding. I hope so.’’

“Would you sign Tommie Smith today?’’ I asked Brown.

“I think he’s too old,’’ said Brown, laughing before adding, “It would be harder today than it was back then.’’

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