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49ers leadership council determining plans for Week 4 Sunday demonstration

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We’ll hear a lot about “unity” more than anything else.

San Francisco 49ers v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers are expected to offer some form of demonstration this Sunday when they travel to face the Arizona Cardinals. Head coach Kyle Shanahan did not know specifically what the demonstration would be, other than hoping it would be something the team does together.

Shanahan and general manager John Lynch met with the team’s player leadership council earlier this week to discuss the issues. Shanahan said that he is leaving it to the council to determine exactly what a demonstration will entail. Per Matt Barrows, that group includes the following players:

NaVorro Bowman
Elvis Dumervil
Pierre Garçon
Marquise Goodwin
Brian Hoyer
Kyle Juzczyk
Kyle Nelson
Logan Paulsen
Eric Reid
Joe Staley

In an attempt to show something resembling unity, teams had a variety of demonstrations last weekend. We saw some teams with all the players locking arms. We saw some teams keep everybody in the locker room. And other teams had some players kneeling, some sitting, some locking arms, and other such combinations.

Free safety Eric Reid has been kneeling since the events in Charlottesville last month, and indicated he is likely to continue kneeling. On Wednesday, Reid, Shanahan, and quarterback Brian Hoyer all discussed the upcoming game. There was discussion of unity, but that did not necessarily mean everyone standing and locking arms. Rather, they pointed to it as one of having everybody supporting everybody on the team.

There has been a lot of talk about unity since last Friday, but that has also served to white-wash the original meaning of the protest. Colin Kaepernick originally took a knee in protest of things like police violence and a flawed and discriminatory criminal justice system. Instances like Jerry Jones taking a knee with the Cowboys and Cardinals was about responding to attacks by the president. It was actually a very clever move by Jones, as he and the rest of the NFL owners were able to shift the narrative to something they might find a bit more palatable.

I won’t apply this to every NFL owner, but I think most of them are not concerned about the original issues brought up when players began taking a knee last year. Rather, they are rich men who do not like having someone else telling them what to do and how to handle their business. They’re entitled to do that, but don’t let many of them fool you into thinking they are here to push for change in the underlying issues that led to the original protests.

If you want hear more about the underlying issues that actually matter in all this, watch Eric Reid’s Wednesday press conference.