San Francisco 49ers defensive back Eric Reid met with CEO Jed York, who told him no players would be forced to stand for the national anthem, per Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said on Sunday that any player who does not stand for the anthem will not play. Reid, who’s been with the 49ers since 2013, didn’t take kindly to that approach.
“I think that’s a poor decision on Jerry’s part,” Reid told The View, per Mercury News. “We have a constitutional right to protest. And that’s all we’re doing — exercising it. It’s a peaceful protest — we’re not doing anything violent. … If I were in Dallas, I would explain to Jerry where I’m coming from, what these issue are, and I would try to help educate on why we’re protesting. And then I would continue to protest because it’s my constitutional right.”
Reid watched President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence leave the 49ers-Colts game Sunday due to the protests. But the San Francisco safety reiterated what he and the team are actually protesting.
“It’s definitely not about the anthem, the flag or the military. I think that’s the biggest pushback we’ve gotten so far. When we first started this process, we decided to kneel as a sign of respect. It’s very confusing for me that it’s been misconstrued as disrespectful,” Reid said. “This is a way for me to bring awareness around these issues in this country … We have a constitutional right to protest. And that’s all we’re doing — exercising it. It’s a peaceful protest. … We’re simply trying to raise awareness around the issues that our country face(s).”