49ers

49ers S Eric Reid heading to New York to discuss protests with NFL owners

49ers S Eric Reid heading to New York to discuss protests with NFL owners

Editor's Note: The above video is from Oct. 1, 2017.

LANDOVER, Md. – Safety Eric Reid, who joined Colin Kaepernick last season to protest racial inequality, said he will attend the NFL owners meeting in New York on Tuesday to discuss the matter.

Reid was one of seven 49ers players to protest during the national anthem before Sunday’s game against Washington. The players took a knee and placed their right hands over their hearts.

“My hope is that the NFL will be progressive and utilize their platform to bring awareness to these issues for us, so we don’t have to protest any more,” Reid said.

Reid has stated the protest has nothing to do with the anthem, the U.S. flag and certainly not the military. The protest is about shedding light on issues of racial inequality and police brutality, he said.

The owners meetings take place Tuesday and Wednesday in New York. The NFL last week said commissioner Roger Goodell invited DeMaurice Smith, the head of the Players Association, to discuss the players’ concerns over social issues.

Goodell sent a memo to team executives in which he expressed a preference for players standing during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner.

“Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem,” Goodell wrote in the memo. “It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us. We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues. “

But the NFL followed up a day later to explain that there has been no change to the league’s policy on the national anthem. The matter will be discussed in length during the owners meetings this week.

“The agenda will be a continuation of how to make progress on the important social issues that players have vocalized,” according to a league statement. “Everyone who is part of our NFL community has a tremendous respect for our country, our flag, our anthem and our military, and we are coming together to deal with these issues in a civil and constructive way."

Reid said last week 49ers CEO Jed York has been nothing but supportive of the players who choose to use their platform to affect change and bring awareness to their causes.

"I've talked to Jed, and he's expressed very clearly that he wants to support us, that he’s not going to force us to do anything,” Reid said on Wednesday.

The 49ers had 23 players protest last week in Indianapolis. On Sunday, Reid was joined by six teammates: Marquise Goodwin, Adrian Colbert, Eli Harold, Arik Armstead, K’Waun Williams and Dekoda Watson, who was inactive for the game due to an injury.

Retired player Anquan Boldin and Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles are also scheduled to attend the NFL owners meeting, Reid said.

Lynch: If charges are proven true, Reuben Foster 'won't be part of our organization'

Lynch: If charges are proven true, Reuben Foster 'won't be part of our organization'

Despite facing two felony charges for domestic violence and one felony for possession of an assault weapon, linebacker Reuben Foster is still a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

While Foster won't participate in the team's offseason program, he hasn't been cut.

On Monday, 49ers GM John Lynch addressed Foster's future with the team while talking to the media in Santa Clara. Lynch said he was speaking for CEO Jed York, the York ownership family and coach Kyle Shanahan.

"As you all know and as our release indicated, we take the gravity of these charges . . . has not been lost on us. We take it extremely seriously. We do feel like patience is the right approach right now, that we are going to learn things through this legal process. But I do want to be very clear, abundantly clear, that if these charges are proven true, that if Reuben did indeed hit this young lady, he won't be part of our organization going forward. That's the standard we want on our team, that's the standard we are going to operate under," Lynch said.

In a statement to announce criminal charges on April 12, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office stated the alleged victim told responding officers that Foster hit her eight to 10 times in the head during the Feb. 11 incident in Los Gatos. The DA's office said the woman was bruised and sustained a ruptured ear drum.

Lynch said the 49ers were surprised by the seriousness of the allegations made by the DA’s office. But he said he does not believe the 49ers have enough information to make an informed decision on Foster, who is not taking part in the club’s offseason program.

“We just feel right now that we don’t have all the information,” Lynch said. “Everyone looks at that and says, ‘The DA’s has levied charges, how is that not enough information?’ I would tell you that each one of these cases is unique, and in this case we don’t feel like we have that information, so we’re going to wait and let this play out.”

Lynch said the 49ers are preparing for the possibility that Foster might not play again for the 49ers. He said the club has been in contract with the league office, while also trying to facilitate structure for him outside the organization while his teammates are attending the offseason program.

Four important questions about 49ers' first-round pick

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AP

Four important questions about 49ers' first-round pick

The 49ers do not control their own draft destiny.

With the No. 9 overall pick, the 49ers’ selection will, in part, be based on what happens in the first eight draft slots. Of course, they could move up or back. But that would involve finding a trade partner.

The answers to these questions will shape the 49ers’ actions on Thursday in the first round of the NFL draft:

Will a linebacker be best on the board?
Reuben Foster’s time with the 49ers might not be over, but it is unclear how much time he is going to miss or how much the 49ers can rely on him to be a long-term member of the organization.

Roquan Smith (Georgia) and Tremaine Edmunds (Virginia Tech) are considered the top two options at linebacker, and either one of them could be the best available player on the board when the 49ers select.

Smith is a high-character, instinctive, athletic player who can step in and immediately become the team’s leading tackler. Edmunds is big, young and raw. Smith is close to a sure thing. Edmunds’ upside is unlimited.

Could Chubb or Nelson be around?
The 49ers have struggled to find a pass rush since Aldon Smith’s departure. Bradley Chubb (North Carolina State) is the best edge rusher in the draft, and would be a nice fit for the 49ers’ scheme. But the 49ers should not hold their breath. Chubb and running back Saquon Barkley (Penn State) are expected be the first non-quarterbacks selected.

Although unlikely, it is possible guard Quenton Nelson (Notre Dame) could still be on the board when the 49ers select. The 49ers believe they have strengthened their guard positions – or at least strengthened the competition – with the signing of Jonathan Cooper. Laken Tomlinson and Joshua Garnett are slated to compete, along with Cooper, for the starting jobs.

Nelson is big and powerful. He is also athletic enough to fit into Kyle Shanahan’s scheme, which places a lot more responsibility on the shoulders of the guards that most systems. Nelson could be chosen at any of the three spots (Indianapolis, Tampa Bay or Chicago) before the 49ers are scheduled to go on the clock. If he remains there at No. 9, the guess is the 49ers would gladly call his name.

Who is the best fit in the secondary?
There are some very good defensive backs who will be drafted within the first dozen picks. But which of those players gives the 49ers what they need or want?

Cornerback Denzel Ward (Ohio State), and safeties Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama) and Derwin James (Florida State) are the consensus top defensive backs available in this draft.

Ward’s speed and coverage skills are outstanding. But his size (5-11, 183) and non-physical style do not match what the 49ers want from their cornerbacks.

Fitzpatrick can play just about anywhere in the secondary. James is tough and aggressive. Strong safety is his best fit.

Fitzpatrick is good in the slot, where the 49ers already have K’Waun Williams at nickel back. At cornerback, the 49ers have presumptive starters Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon. Safety Jimmie Ward will play on the outside in the offseason program.

At safety, Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt are scheduled for unrestricted free agency next offseason, so the 49ers could look ahead to what might be a need a year from now. Adrian Colbert looks to be a keeper.

Will a surprise really be a surprise?
So who is the second-best pass rusher? Who is the second-best offensive lineman? And would the 49ers consider either of those players worthy of a top-10 selection?

The 49ers must look to address their looming issues at offensive tackle, and Mike McGlinchey (Notre Dame) could be considered. Joe Staley might have a couple of good seasons left in him. But right tackle Trent Brown couild be gone after this season.

And how about the need for an edge rusher? It would not be much of a stretch for the 49ers to consider Marcus Davenport (Texas-San Antonio) or Harold Landry (Boston College).

Cornerback is also a position the 49ers could consider. Isaiah Oliver (Colorado) and Josh Jackson (Iowa) are the best fits for the 49ers’ scheme.

The 49ers were not willing to spend money for a wide receiver in free agency, so they can be expected to add someone in the draft. But a top-10 pick would seem too high to go target any of the top guys: Calvin Ridley (Alabama), D.J. Moore (Maryland) or Courtland Sutton (SMU).