Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid said Wednesday that head coach Ron Rivera "doesn't have a choice" but to support his right to kneel during the national anthem.
Rivera has repeatedly told reporters that Reid's pregame demonstrations are "not an issue" because the safety is simply exercising his First Amendment rights.
When asked about having Rivera's support Wednesday, Reid said it didn't really matter.
"He's entitled to his opinion, but I know what my rights are," Reid said, according to ESPN. "His family was a military family much like many of my people were in the military. My cousin just got back from Afghanistan. My mom was in the armed services. My uncle was enlisted. The list goes on.
"But when they get home they're still black in America. They're going to fight the same wars when they get home and still face the same things I'm talking about. So I get encouragement from my family that served in the armed forces because they agree with what I'm saying.''
Rivera's father was an officer in the Army, and the coach has said he spent part of his childhood growing up on an Army base.
The Panthers signed Reid, who was the first player to kneel during the national anthem alongside former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, in late September following a spate of injuries at safety. Reid, like Kaepernick, has regularly described the demonstrations as a means of protesting racial inequality and police brutality.
Contact Tom Schad at [email protected] or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.
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