Chiefs’ Justin Reid says he was asked about kneeling for national anthem during his draft interviews in 2018

Justin Reid helped the Kansas City Chiefs win their second Super Bowl title since the 2019 season in February when the team held off the Philadelphia Eagles, 38-35.

Reid joined the Chiefs before the start of the 2022 season after spending four years with the Houston Texans. The defensive back was a third-round draft pick in 2018 before he came on strong and made an immediate impact on that defense. He had three interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, in his rookie season.

However, Reid explained in Friday’s episode of “The Pivot Podcast” that he thought he was going to be, at the very least, a second-round pick. He recalled to Ryan Clark, Channing Crowder and Fred Taylor that teams that interviewed him had concerns over whether he would kneel for the national anthem.


Justin Reid vs the Eagles

Justin Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs at Super Bowl LVII against the Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium on Feb. 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Reid’s brother, Eric, knelt during the anthem in support of Colin Kaepernick in 2016. Kaepernick and Reid sued the NFL and eventually settled with the league over claims they were blackballed by teams because of their support of social justice issues. Eric Reid would eventually play two seasons for the Carolina Panthers but hasn’t since 2019.

“I visited with 28 teams before the draft. Houston actually wasn’t one of the teams that I talked to because they didn’t think they had a shot at getting me. Their first pick was in the third round. I thought I was going (in Round) 1 or 2,” Justin Reid said.

“Some of the visits I ended up having some conversations on social justice issues. This is fresh off of Kaepernick and my brother kneeling. This was still a very hot and taboo topic that was going around the league.


Eric Reid kneels with Colin Kaepernick

Eric Reid, left, and Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers kneel during the anthem prior to the Los Angeles Rams game at Levi Stadium on Sept. 12, 2016, in Santa Clara, California. (Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

“I remember some teams asked me straight up, ‘Are you gonna kneel?’ You know, ‘Is it gonna be a distraction?’ At that point I’m like, ‘Na, coach I ain’t gonna kneel. I’m not gonna kneel, coach. I’ll do what you need me to do,’” he added with laughter.”

Justin Reid said the experience he saw his brother go through “hurt.” He said it was tough to see him not get picked up after setting franchise records in Carolina. In Eric Reid’s last season, he had 130 tackles and seven tackles for a loss.

The current Chiefs said he didn’t necessarily distance himself from his brother’s opinions.

“There’s a fine line with it because I would never not be on his side,” Reid said. “That’s my blood. That’s my brother. He’s my idol. He was my role model growing up. I compared everything that I did to what he did at that age to measure myself. I will always have his back. But it’s a fine line you gotta play with just picking your moments to be vocal and be loud about it because… like, I pick my moments intentionally, but I don’t try and do it in a way that, you know, I’ve seen this movie before. 

Justin Reid vs the Raiders

Safety Justin Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs walks off the field after warmups before the Raiders game at Allegiant Stadium on Jan. 7, 2023, in Las Vegas. (Chris Unger/Getty Images)

“I know the potential on which way this could go. I pick my moments when I’m vocal about it and sometimes I just gotta sit tight because, at the end of the day, I truly believe I can have a bigger impact whenever I build my platform, my brand up, bigger than what it is when I’m at a vulnerable state that can pulled from underneath me so quickly.”


Reid played in all 17 games for Kansas City in 2022. He had 83 tackles and a sack.

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