When President Donald Trump made his initial comments against NFL players protesting during the national anthem, the 49ers had already played their Week 3 matchup. And so, with the rest of the teams in the league already taken a stance on last Sunday and Monday, the attention has turned to the protest’s source: the San Francisco 49ers.
On Friday, 49ers general manager John Lynch made his first public comments about Trump’s comments in his weekly interview with KNBR.
“I have great respect for that office,” Lynch said of the presidency. ”I think they sacrifice a lot. But I was put off by the comments. I think by the tenor of them. There’s a way to act presidential and I don’t feel like that was. I think we expect better from that office.”
Lynch is referring to Trump’s comments during a speech in Alabama where he used a derogatory term towards players like former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and current safety Eric Reid – adding that he feels NFL owners should fire those players who choose to protest.
The NFL responded with varying degrees of protest – including teams that released statements, interlocked arms, knelt, or did not participate in the pregame ceremony and stayed in the locker room as the anthem played.
Lynch mentioned in the interview, he believes the NFL does unify people.
“This league is … it’s a great example for the rest of society in terms of accepting others that are different from you for multiple reasons — be it their race, religion, where they are from, the country — and we come together for a common goal. I think if the rest of the country, the rest of the world could do that, we’d be in a better place. NFL players when challenged they bond together, and I think you’ve seen that. Like I said hopefully now we can move that forward and I think everyone wants that.”