SANTA CLARA – Safety Eric Reid on Friday said he will continue to take a knee with quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the playing of the national anthem.
Others on the 49ers could join Kaepernick and Reid in bringing awareness to civil rights issues, too, Reid said.
“There’ve been guys who’ve talked about it,” said Reid, a fourth-year player who was recently voted as the team's union representative for a second season in a row. “I can’t speak for what anybody is going to do or their plans for the future. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
On Thursday, Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall, a teammate of Kaepernick’s at Nevada, took a knee before the opening game of the NFL season. On Friday, a credit union for which Marshall was a spokesman announced it was cutting ties with him. Kaepernick declined to comment on Friday.
“When I decided to do this, it came with the understanding that that’s the risk you take,” Reid said. “It’s business. I studied business in college. People don’t want to be associated with bad press. That’s understandable.
“But I feel like I’m doing something that’s bigger. If I lose an Under Armour endorsement -- that’s the only endorsement I have -- I wouldn’t be worried about it because to me, in my heart, I’m doing something that’s in benefit of a lot of people.”
Under Armour has not contacted Reid with any concerns about his protest, Reid said.
Reid said he was encouraged to hear CEO Jed York announce the 49ers Foundation pledged to donate a combined $1 million to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the San Francisco Foundation – organizations that focus on social issues within the community.
“It means our owners believe in what we’re doing,” Reid said. “It kind of gives me encouragement to move forward.”
Reid said he has been the target of some “mean things” on social media, for which he was fully expecting, he said. But he said he believes it has drawn the locker room closer.
“Since this has started, I’ve had conversations with him (Kaepernick) on a deeper level than I’ve ever had,” Reid said. “He’s told me he’s had that same feeling with a number of guys.”
And Reid said he has even spoken with players around the league who have been supportive of the action that gained even more momentum when Reid and Kaepernick took a knee together amid their teammates on the sideline during the Star-Spangled Banner before the team's final exhibition game in San Diego. Kaepernick sat on the bench during the playing of the national anthem before the 49ers’ first three exhibition games.
“I think it means that people agree that there are issues in this country,” Reid said. “I don’t think that’s what the debate is about. I think everybody understands that there are issues. Ultimately, the goal is to get into the communities and start making changes.
“Personally, I work in the community a lot back home in Baton Rouge (Louisiana). We’d like to see something on the legislative side, if there can be some type of policy that can help make the relationship between the community and police officers, and whatever the issue is, better.”
Reid added, "They don’t know if they’re comfortable with kneeling, but they do support a cause. They’re looking for ways to get involved."