Chris Long noted that Panthers safety Eric Reid has criticized the group for not accomplishing anything.

By Emily Caron
August 20, 2019

Two-time Super Bowl champion Chris Long defended the Players Coalition in an interview with SI Now on Tuesday in light of the recent criticism that has come its' way as NFL players continue the conversation around the league’s social justice efforts.

Panthers safety Eric Reid has been critical of the Coalition from early on and his critiques continued recently. Reid withdrew from the group, which was created by Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, during the 2017 season. Long, who defended the group Tuesday, was teammates with Jenkins during his time in Philadelphia. Reid's criticism has continued in light of the league's recent partnership with Jay-Z, who had been a vocal supporter of Reid's former teammate Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick has not played since opting out of his contract with San Francisco after beginning to kneel during the national anthem in protest of racial inequality.

Long acknowledged Reid's criticism of Jay-Z’s partnership with the NFL but suggested he was taking a wait-and-see approach before sharing his own views. He noted that he disagrees with Reid's critique that the Coalition has not been able to accomplish anything. Long revealed that they removed Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross from the organization’s working group committee after news broke that Ross was hosting a fundraiser for President Trump's reelection campaign.

"The one thing I really disagree with Eric on is that the Coalition hasn't done anything," Long said. "The coalition is autonomous. We don't work for the owners. In fact, we just got Steven Ross to agree to be off of our working group. We can make decisions like that.

Reid, along with Dolphins WR Kenny Stills and others, has been publicly critical of Ross before and immediately commented on his involvement in the league. Reid tweeted that the NFL's announcement of its partnership with Jay-Z was "interesting timing" considering it came "on the heels of Stephen Ross' fundraiser for Donald Trump and the backlash his other companies are getting because of it."

Long argued that the Coalition's removal of Ross was proof that some good was coming of the group's endeavors, along with the lobbying efforts that they've seen come to fruition with bills including the Clean Slate Act.

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