By CODY WORSHAM
Tiger Rag Editor
Colin Kaepernick wasn’t alone in sitting out — or, rather, kneeling out — the national anthem on Thursday night.
Former LSU safety and current 49er Eric Reid joined Kaepernick in taking a knee during the pregame playing of the “Star Spangled Banner” ahead of San Francisco’s preseason contest against San Diego Chargers.
Kaepernick and Reid, not in uniform for the game, kneeled together then embraced after the anthem.
Kaepernick takes a knee during anthem. Joined by Eric Reid. pic.twitter.com/xNU5eaPr9x
— Ahmed Fareed (@FareedNBCS) September 2, 2016
Both stood up until the music started, then Kaepernick and Reid (not in uniform) took a knee during the song. https://t.co/YJ2VhiJVT7
— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) September 2, 2016
The move, Kaepernick and Reid said after the game, was an adjustment from Kaepernick’s previous posture of choice. The quarterback had been sitting during the anthem, but said Reid approached him this week to find a more respectful position.
“He saw that it hurt people that he sat during the national anthem,” Reid said, according to ESPN. “There are people that actually put their lives on the line for this country to give us freedom. We talked for a couple days, to figure out a way to be more respectful of those people and the national anthem of the country while still maintaining the stance that there needs to be things done about these issues. And it was just today actually, a couple hours before the game, we were like, hey, why don’t you take a knee and that way you’re not isolated from the team, you’re not sitting down during the national anthem, you’re just changing your physical position, being more respectful to those people while still maintaining your stance on these issues.
“And that came off as more respectful to the country, to the anthem, to the military. And I agree with that. It shows that he hears that people were hurt by him sitting, but he still believes in the cause that he wants to bring awareness to. So he changed his physical position from sitting down to take a knee to still show respect.”
Kaepernick came under fire from critics across the country over the last week after his protesting of the playing of the national anthem became publicized.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media last week. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Last week, he spoke with Reid and former Green Beret/NFL long snapper Nate Boyer about trying to find a better way to express his views without appearing to disrespect the military.
“(Reid and I) were talking to (Boyer) about how can we get the message back on track and not take away from the military, not take away from pride in our country but keep the focus on what the issues really are,” Kaepernick said. “As we talked about it, we came up with taking a knee because there are issues that still need to be addressed and there was also a way to show more respect for the men and women that fight for this country.”
Reid is a Baton Rouge native who wrote for Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback earlier this year on the Alton Sterling shooting in Baton Rouge.
“The tragic death of Alton Sterling has led me to remember events of my past while growing up in Baton Rouge, my home,” he wrote. “It is who I am and part of what shaped me into who I am today. I know what it’s like to be discriminated against. I’ve experienced several encounters with police officers that left me wondering how such a person wears a badge. I’ve also been pulled over and there was no prejudice against me. I could speak to those experiences, but what good would it do? The point is that some individuals who are sworn to protect and serve have shed unjustifiable blood…
“Let me be clear, not all police officers are racist, but it is alarming that these events continue to pop up all over our nation. Our system is broken, and it’s time for change. Positive, peaceful and systematic change and NOT the disgusting vigilante actions we saw in Texas that took the lives of innocent officers working during a peaceful protest.”