The San Francisco 49ers opened up their fourth week of training camp on the one year anniversary of the discovery of Colin Kaepernick’s National Anthem protest (timeline). Even a year later it is one of the most divisive events in sports history. The quarterback still remains unsigned and Eric Reid, who took part in the protest along side his teammate shared his thoughts on the subject.
Reid, who has spent time with Kaepernick off the field, has seen the support for the quarterback first hand.
People would come up to him and tell him how much they respected what he did for the community. We go inside a building and people follow him to tell him. There’s a huge, huge amount of support for him in this country. I think if he was on [a] team I think there would be people who would follow that team because he was on it.
While a few owners have spoken out, concerned about the fan backlash if they were to add Kaepernick to their roster, the quarterback had one of the highest grossing jersey sales of the 2016 season. Even well after the season ended in May 2017, the quarterback’s jersey sales were in the top 20. It also seems unreasonable that a fan base would boycott watching their team especially if Kaepernick wasn’t even signed as a starter. Reid added he believes that adding Kaepernick to their roster would help their bottom line as opposed to hurting it.
Reid also touched on the growing racial divide in the country:
It’s becoming more apparent for people to see the issues that we’re talking about especially the way it happened in Charlottesville. So we’re just hopeful that if we keep talking about it and don’t let it go away, because a lot of people want things to blow over and say ‘That’s an isolated incident’ but it happens everyday. If we keep talking about it hopefully we can make this change and it needs to stop being hopefully, it needs to happen and it needs to happen now.
I have been covering this story since it’s beginning. My photo offered the first visual evidence of Kaepernick’s protest, so I feel I have a good understanding of how it unraveled. One of the issues in today’s society and how it gets and digests (or doesn’t) news contributes to how people think about the protest. People read the flashy headlines, formulate a opinion without reading the story, never do any delving into the subject and hold tight onto that first impression. Timing is everything.
Word of Kaepernick sitting happened after a late night preseason game held on a Friday night. As is customary, the team had the next two days off and no media availability until the following Monday afternoon. The media and the public had two and a half full days to spin it how they chose before the quarterback had a chance to explain his reasoning. If you’re reading this, you’ve read more than the original headlines and have a more educated opinion about the topic. Many others have not, which is why it continues to be a divisive topic.
Whenever people find out that I cover the 49ers, all they want to talk about is Kaepernick. I have educated countless people about his motives, his conversation with Nate Boyer and his consequent change to kneeling for the anthem which was an excellent compromise, and it always surprises me how many people don’t even know that he changed to kneeling.
While I think that Kaepernick could have done a few things differently (including, but not limited to the the socks), I think his motives are pure. Whether you believe in the method, or not, it has brought light to one of the many issues in our great country, for which I think he deserves credit.