Cam Newton is looking forward to what defensive back Eric Reid will bring to the Carolina Panthers -- and he isn't concerned about Reid's stances on social issues being a potential distraction for the team.
"Everything outside of football ... I'm going to stand by him and knowing that none of that will be distractions from us winning football games," Newton said during a Wednesday news conference.
Reid joined Colin Kaepernick's protests against social injustice and racial inequality by taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem before San Francisco 49ers games during the 2016 season. He continued his protests last season and later joined Kaepernick in filing a collusion grievance against the NFL after going unsigned during the offseason. That grievance remains in effect despite Reid's signing by the Panthers.
"In the past that happened," Newton said. "We know he's going to be an impact player for us, and that's all I care about. All that other stuff, y'all can write. Listen, I know Eric has played in the league long enough, and we got a steal, I feel.
"Like I said, what he does outside of football, I'm going to stand by him and kind of be with him on that, but what he does on the football field is going to impact this team."
Reid told reporters Monday that the Panthers didn't ask him about his anthem plans prior to his signing and said he hadn't made a decision on what he plans to do during the anthem before games. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Reid's signing was a "football decision" founded upon getting the best player available after safety Da'Norris Searcy was lost for the season because of concussions.
"He's a great player," Newton said. "We have great players in this locker room and we have accepted him with open arms. I was thinking to myself ... I hope he was is/as excited as everybody is loving having him. He's a very young and talented player that has a lot of football left in his body. And for him to be on our team is a great thing."