The San Francisco 49ers showed a united front during the National Anthem in Week 4 against the Arizona Cardinals, their first game since the President called for players to stand. 30 members of the team and staff knelt next to each other while their counterparts stood behind them, one hand on their hearts and one hand on the player in front of them.
NaVorro Bowman, who has not said much about the protests since they began, was outspoken in the locker room after the game. Bowman is on the leadership committee and was part of the decision making process, arranging the the plan of the team. Bowman spoke about why they decided to make a statement together as a unit.
The main factor was for us to all to do it together, all of us to stay together so that no one can put any kind of type of doubt or limitations or say this person's here, this person was there. We were all in cahoots with what we did today. I thought it looked presentable and we got our message across.
When asked what moved him to be one of the players in the front row, kneeling, he spoke passionately about not allowing someone who has never played in the league have a right to dictate what they do.
I’ve been playing this game my entire life. I’ve met so many people from different races and ethnicities and became the best of friends to them, became like brothers to them. For a guy that’s never played this game or understand what goes in to it, the brotherhood that we build with blood, sweat and tears, I just felt like he has no say, no type of control in this league, because he doesn’t have any idea or any clue what we go through. I felt like for him to say we better not do anything, this is our brotherhood, and our league and we should do what we need to do no matter what we’re hearing on the outside.
(It was clarified after his statement that he was speaking about the President.)