Last season, 49ers safety Eric Reid was one of the first players to join then teammate Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality in the United States.
While Kaepernick said he would no longer kneel this season (a point which is moot considering he’s unsigned) Reid decided to resume his protest in the 49ers’ third preseason game on Sunday night, and was the only 49ers player to take a knee during the national anthem. A number of players, including Marquise Goodwin, stood next to Reid and placed a hand on his shoulder in support.
Reid explained his decision to resume the protst after the game in a lengthy Q&A with reporters. Video via Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group.
— Cam Inman (@CamInman) August 28, 2017
“I just had a change of heart,” Reid said. “A lot of thinking. A lot of praying. Talking to Colin (Kaepernick). When we started last year, if you recall, we said our goal was to raise awareness and shed light on the issues that were happening in our country. I think we accomplished that goal. What I was upset about was the narrative, the false narrative, that were being told about us, people saying that we’re un-American, that we’re against police entirely and the military. That just wasn’t true. At first I thought that was a small sacrifice to pay to get the word out and raise awareness. I settled with thinking raising that awareness was victory.
“Then fast forward to Charlottesville and the country sees what an un- American protest really looks like. That’s when I had my change of heart. Because what Colin, Eli and I did was a peaceful protest fueled by faith in God to help make our country a better place. I feel I needed to regain control of that narrative and not let people say that what we’re doing is un-American, because it’s not. It’s completely American. We’re doing it because we want equality for everybody. We want our country to be a better place. So that’s why I decided to resume the protest.”
Reid went on to say that he has support form 49ers CEO Jed York, who seemed to express such by retweeting Reid’s postgame interview.
— Jed York (@JedYork) August 28, 2017
Reid said he plans on continuing the protest throughout the 2018 season.