Reid, who was the first person to join Colin Kaepernick in the kneeling protests while both were with the San Francisco 49ers, had not spoken about what he would do during the song’s playing.
But he dropped to his right knee as the national anthem began playing before the Panthers’ game against the New York Giants.
Reid has a collusion case against the NFL, claiming he was essentially blackballed because of his activism. That lawsuit is still pending, but the Panthers, shorthanded in the defensive backfield, added Reid to the roster this week. He had been out of football since leaving the 49ers as a free agent.
The Panthers reportedly did not ask Reid about any potential protest before signing him and have not set any rules. The league has no national anthem conduct requirements, having abandoned a plan to force players to stand respectfully or stay in the locker room.
Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper, who has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, has said that players who protest during the anthem are not unpatriotic.
“These are great young men,” Tepper said on CNBC. “So to say that [they aren’t patriotic] makes me so aggravated and angry. It’s just wrong, it’s dead wrong.”
Reid, Kaepernick and other players have claimed to be protesting police brutality and issues of racial inequality.
Player protests have dwindled around the league since the season starts. Three Miami Dolphins have protested and there have been scattered incidents, but nothing like the mass player protests of last season.