Texans' Justin Reid not surprised by Jon Gruden's Eric Reid comments

Jon Gruden, ousted as the Las Vegas Raiders coach after the recent discovery of years of emails from him containing racist, homophobic, misogynistic and vulgar comments during a workplace misconduct investigation into the Washington Football Team, had also derided the brother of Texans safety Justin Reid.

Gruden made specific negative remarks about former San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid and quarterback Colin Kaepernick for their efforts to raise awareness about systemic racism and social injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. Gruden wrote that they should be fired, according to emails reported by the New York Times.

For years, Justin Reid has championed his brother’s cause and hoped to be teammates with him on the Texans defense. Justin Reid lobbied former Texans coach and general manager Bill O’Brien to sign his brother, but nothing ever developed despite O’Brien being receptive to the idea along with mutual interest from Eric Reid.

Carolina Panthers v Houston Texans

Photo: Getty Images

Eric Reid hasn’t played in the NFL since 2019 and is not expected to get another opportunity primarily because he’s been out of the league for so long even though he has maintained his conditioning levels. Toward his final stint with the Carolina Panthers, Reid complained that his efforts to promote social justice by kneeling during the anthem had caused him to be discriminated against by NFL franchises and practically blackballed from the league.

Justin Reid wasn’t shocked by Gruden’s deplorable stances, which have earned him widespread condemnation throughout sports and society along with the loss of his employment with the Raiders as he resigned under heavy external and internal pressureMonday night.

“I want to say that I’m surprised, but I’m not,” Justin Reid said Thursday during his weekly press conference at NRG Stadium. “We knew that there was stuff going around the league like that happening with him, so it is what it is. He’s ready if that opportunity ever does come.”

Eric Reid set Carolina franchise single-season records for a safety with 130 tackles and four sacks in 2019. He was cut by the Panthers one year into a three-year, $22 million contract as he was due an $8 million base salary in 2020.  

It was Reid who joined Kaepernick and ignited a global social justice movement when the two took a knee before a game against the Chargers on September 1, 2016.

Reid played seven NFL seasons, the first five with the 49ers and the last two with the Panthers. He started 98 of the 99 games in which he appeared and recorded 519 career tackles and 11 interceptions.

Reid hasn’t tried out or visited an NFL team this year and his NFL career appears to be over, as does Gruden's coaching and broadcasting career after becoming a pariah due to his words, which included a racist trope to describe NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith and a homophobic and ugly description of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Inducted into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Ring of Honor in 2017, Gruden has been expelled from their Ring of Honor in light of this episode.

"I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders," Gruden wrote on Twitter in a statement issued by the Raiders. "I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff and fans of Raider Nation. I'm sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone."

Aaron Wilson has covered the NFL for 20 seasons, including the Texans, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars. He has previously written for The Houston Chronicle and The Baltimore Sun. He’s on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL and Instagram: @aaronwilson7128.

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