The political statement made by players kneeling for the national anthem is now resulting in concrete campaigns to push for legislation.
49ers CEO Jed York invited several law enforcement officials from New York, Portland, Los Angeles, Oakland and San Jose to sign a pledge committing to advocating for greater community relations between police and the communities they serve.
The pledge also included an effort to support a House of Representatives bill to ban “bump stock” conversions, which turn semi-automatic weapons, into guns that can fire automatically. A “bump stock” gun was used to kill 59 people and injure more than 500 in Las Vegas recently.
The 49ers have devoted $500,000 to help the ban, and to improve relations between police and the community.
York called the purchase of an automatic weapon like a bump stock “almost insane.”
But York and the 49ers aren’t the only ones in the NFL committed to pushing for legislation. Philadelphia safety Malcolm Jenkins in conjunction with now retired 49ers receiver Anquan Boldin are hoping to eliminate private prisons and are pushing for a “clean slate bill.”
The bill would automatically seal records for those convicted of 10-year non-violent misdemeanors so they can better find employment.
Former 49er and now Eagles receiver Torrey Smith has also joined the effort along with Eagles defensive end Chris Long.
Long has followed a similar path forged by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The son of former Oakland and Los Angeles Raider Hall of Famer Howie Long, Chris pledged $1 million to help poor students of his native Charlottesville, PA community achieve “educational equity.”
Kaepernick also pledged $1 million last year to social justice causes.
Long also formed a non-profit called, Waterboys.org, that hopes to provide clean water to East African nations like Tanzania. Kaepernick helped secure a Turkish Airlines plane this summer to fly food to starving people in Somalia.
The 49ers will play the Eagles this Sunday in Philadelphia, which will unite York and Philly owner Jeffry Lurie. Both have said they will allow players to express their individual rights and protest during the national anthem if they so choose.