49ers Reid Protest Football

FILE - Int his Monday, Sept. 12, 2016, file photo, San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid (35) and quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Santa Clara, Calif. Reid has resumed his kneeling protest for human rights during the national anthem, after joining then-teammate Kaepernick's polarizing demonstration last season. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File) 

The death of Alton Sterling on July 5, 2016, in Baton Rouge brought former LSU football player Eric Reid to tears, he says in an opinion piece published this week on the New York Times website.

Sterling, 37, was killed during a confrontation with two Baton Rouge police officers.

"This could have happened to any of my family members who still live in the area," he writes. "I felt furious, hurt and hopeless. I wanted to do something, but didn’t know what or how to do it."

A few weeks later, Reid's San Francisco 49ers teammate Colin Kaepernick chose to sit on the bench during the national anthem to protest police brutality. Reid approached him, and together they agreed to kneel together at the next game.

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"We chose to kneel because it’s a respectful gesture," he said. "It baffles me that our protest is still being misconstrued as disrespectful to the country, flag and military personnel. We chose it because it’s exactly the opposite."

Reid received numerous honors while playing safety for LSU from 2010 to 2012.

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