San Francisco 49ers free safety Eric Reid joined Colin Kaepernick in taking a knee during the National Anthem of the team’s preseason finale. The two men met with former Green Beret and long snapper Nate Boyer prior to the game, and came to an agreement about a clearer way to protest, while still showing support for the military and the flag.
The underlying message was getting muddied by complaints about the method. Reid spoke with the media following the game, and discussed his support for Kaepernick. Here’s a transcription of this video. At the bottom, I’ve posted a Vine of the end of the Anthem.
Opens with Reid speaking:
I just wanted to show my support for him, the causes he is trying to bring awareness to. I had an in-depth conversation with him before the game, and he said he saw a lot of backlash about him sitting down, and he wanted to make it clear his message wasn’t to disrespect the military, or disrespect the National Anthem in any way. It feels like he decided to change his position, by taking a knee, to be more respectful to the military, be more respectful to the Anthem, but still wanted to raise awareness to the issues he believes harm this country, and that I wholeheartedly agree with exist in this country. I think it is very brave of him to continue to stand up for what he believes in, but while also changing his physical position to be respectful to the country.
On if he thought about all week or last minute:
Nah, it’s been on my mind because a lot of stuff that’s happening in this country hits close to home. Things that happen in Louisiana, then just this, what happened, it could have been one of my family members that were affected. So it touched closed to him, and I just wanted to show my support to him, and let him know he’s not the only person that feels the way he feels. There are a lot of people out there that feel that way. I think it’s quite the contrary of what some people are trying to make it out to be. Some people are trying to make it into him hating the country, but I think he loves this country so much, that he wants to bring attention to issues that need to be fixed.
On if he is prepared for the backlash:
I mean, it is what it is. People if you listen to what he’s saying, and what the issues are, he’s not trying to be disrespectful to anybody. In fact, he’s trying to do quite the opposite. He’s trying to make issues in this country better. If you hear him out, if you hear what he has to say, I think you will respect that, you will respect where he’s coming from. I think it was big of him to take a knee and join the team in the National Anthem, other than isolating himself by sitting down. So I think that’s big of him, very big of him.
On if he’ll continue kneeling, or if he’s thought that far ahead:
I haven’t thought that far ahead, but I’ve spoken to him, and I want to continue to show my support for him, bringing awareness to these issues. And it’s not just a football thing. I talked to him, and he has a plan going forward. He wants to get into the community, and address these issues. It’s not just a, “I’m gonna kneel during the National Anthem and let somebody else try and effect change.” He wants to get out there, and get in the community, effect the change itself.
On if he’s brought more attention to himself and the team:
I don’t think that’s his goal at all. And I don’t think it’s a distraction at all when it comes to football. You look at the guys and look at how we interact on the sideline, even today during the game. I mean, we support him. I know I support him. I know I can speak for a lot of people that have told me, and I have seen to him that they support him. So I don’t think he’s being a distraction whatsoever. The issues that he’s talking about is bigger than football. Football’s a game, we’re talking about people’s lives.