A day after San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch offered his opinion on the Anthem protests from 2016 that have picked back up in the 2017 preseason, Kyle Shanahan was asked the same question.
Neither Shanahan or Lynch waded too deep into this, but they offered their own different takes on it. Lynch acknowledged the right to do it, but thinks it is divisive. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion on this, but obviously there will be disagreements on this. That being said, looking back at this BASG article from January 30, I’m not surprised Lynch is not a fan of the protest. Skip down to the part involving Jay Glazer and Mai Tais (didn’t think I’d include that in a sentence!).
Shanahan said there are different ways to go about making your message known, but he also understands if a player sees it differently. He does not necessarily need to know about it ahead of time, but he also would want to talk to a player about it if it came up. He closed by saying, “I would always just want to hear why.”
Here is a transcript of his comments (video).
How he would approach player who protests:
Just to talk to the guy. I’m not going to tell anyone what to do or not to do. I see stuff on TV, also. And things that are going on in this country and this world. And I think anybody who sees that stuff and doesn’t get the feeling that they’d like to do something about it to end that stuff, I think something’s wrong with you. I completely understand why guys want to do stuff and want to speak up.
There’s also different ways to do it. I know, me personally, I’d always stand for the flag and do that because it’s something I’ve always done. I see most people do it. And when I’m down there during the National Anthem, I’m pretty locked into my job at hand and thinking about what’s about to go on — my responsibilities as a coach, my responsibilities in my job. I’m so focused on that, I’m not thinking about much else. For a player, if they see that differently and they want to do something about that, I completely understand their intentions and why. Because I think everyone can agree there’s lots of stuff that’s pretty sad to see right now.
On any team discussions about it:
No, I haven’t. I don’t think I necessarily need to. I think everyone gets kinda what’s going on to a degree and understands what’s very wrong about all this stuff. And I think everyone wants to do stuff to help. And everyone wants to make a change. I’m not going to sit and tell people how to do that. That’s up to them. That’s why our country is the best country. And if someone does decide to do that, I’ll talk to anybody about anything. I like to know what our players are thinking, and what’s going on and why they choose to do something, but there’s no need for me to address it until it’s something to talk about.
If he would prefer to know ahead of time if protest is planned:
Honestly, it doesn’t matter to me. It wouldn’t distract me. It’s hard to distract me at the time that that would happen. Might be distracting after a game when I’d get a thousand questions about it and I didn’t even notice it during a game. But besides that, it’s just about being prepared for questions and things like that. I can totally understand people’s intentions. I would always just want to hear why.
Fooch’s Note: On the note of the Anthem, I couldn’t help but post Marshawn Lynch’s comments today when asked about his decision to sit during the Anthem. Marshawn Lynch really does remain a national treasure.