Over the years, the Bengals have looked the other way on a variety of actual and alleged criminal activities when signing, drafting, and/or keeping players. When it comes to one specific type of conduct that is neither illegal nor a violation of any applicable rule or provision of the relationship between the NFL and its players, that could be where Bengals owner Mike Brown draws the line.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Brown personally met with Reid when Reid visited the Bengals on Monday. Brown, according to the source, initiated discussion regarding the issue of kneeling during the anthem. The conversation almost exclusively centered on the topic, with Brown explaining that he intends to prohibit it — and with Brown at one point asking Reid for his response.
Reid, caught off guard by the line of questioning, wasn’t willing to make a commitment on the spot. Last month, Reid said he’s currently not planning to kneel or otherwise demonstrate during the anthem. But Reid, who is considering other options for bringing attention to societal issues he considers to be important, hasn’t made any final decisions, and he wasn’t willing to do so at the direct request and behest of Brown.
After the meeting with Brown, Reid took a physical and spent time reviewing film with members of the coaching staff. He developed a clear sense that the coaches (specifically, defensive coordinator Teryl Austin) were interested in signing Reid and weren’t concerned about whether he’d kneel or otherwise demonstrate during the anthem or at any other time. Late in the visit, however, coach Marvin Lewis asked Reid if he wants to clarify anything that Reid told ownership regarding the anthem. Reid said that he had no clarifications or changes to make to what he had said, and the visit ended not long after that without an offer being made to Reid.
Reached for comment by PFT regarding the alleged interactions between Brown and Reid, the Bengals provided the following statement: “The Club conducts many interviews with players throughout the year. The Club views these interviews as confidential and does not comment on them.”