Eric Reid has played 11 games for the Carolina Panthers. During that span, the former Pro Bowl safety says, he has been drug tested seven times.
Reid tweeted a photo of his most recent random drug-testing notice — which he found taped to his locker following the Panthers’ 12-9 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Monday night — along with a caption that expressed exactly how he feels about the situation:
“Number 7... ‘Random’”
The NFL’s drug testing system is run by an independent administrator who was jointly appointed by the league and the players union and was given “sole discretion” on who is tested and how often by the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
That administrator uses a computer to randomly choose 10 players on each team to be tested each week. While Reid’s first test would have been part of his physical with the Panthers, any others were likely part of that random program.
But none of it seems random to Reid.
Reid, who turned 27 last week, was one of the first players to join his then-San Francisco 49ers teammate Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem before games and has continued the protest as a member of the Panthers.
He and Kaepernick also are suing the NFL for collusion. Kaepernick hasn’t been able to find work in the league since opting out of his contract with the 49ers during the 2017 offseason. Reid was a free agent for six months before landing a job with the Panthers in September.
Last month, after receiving what he said was the notice for his sixth drug test, Reid told reporters: “It’s supposedly random but I know what I’m fighting against, I know who I’m fighting against. It’s tactics that they’re using for the collusion suit.”
During Monday’s game against the Saints, Reid wore cleats that featured an image of Kaepernick kneeling as part of a tribute to the history of protest.
My cleats for tonight. Much thanks and appreciation to the artist @2cent_bmike. Here’s his take on the inspiration behind his design, “It’s a tribute to the history of protest , centered around the quote “if not us , who? If not now, when? “ meaning we all benefit and stand on... pic.twitter.com/x9PNkmwTK0— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) December 17, 2018
“I’ve been here 11 weeks, I’ve been drug tested seven times. That has to be statistically impossible,” Reid told reporters after the game. “I’m not a mathematician, but there’s no way that’s random.”