Richard Sherman joined a large group of NFL players angered and saddened by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees saying he still believes kneeling during the national anthem is "disrespecting the flag" on Wednesday.
The 49ers star cornerback called Brees "beyond lost" and made it clear the peaceful protest never had anything to do with going against the military.
"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America, or our country," Brees said to Yahoo! Finance. "Let me just tell you what I see or what I feel when the national anthem is played or when I look at the flag of the United States. I envision my two grandfathers who fought for this country during World War II. One in the Army and one in the Marine corps both risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country and this world a better place.
"So every time I stand with my hand over my heart, looking at that flag and singing the national anthem, that's what I think about. And in many cases, it brings me to tears thinking about all those who have sacrificed -- not just those in the military, but for that matter, those fought in the '60s and all that has been endured by so many people up until this point.
"Is everything right with our country right now? No, it's not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart is it shows unity. It shows we are all in this together, we can all do better and that we are all part of the solution."
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Sherman recently spoke to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer about the importance of white quarterbacks speaking up right now regarding racism and police brutality in America after George Floyd, an African American man in Minneapolis, was killed last week in police custody.
“I’m impressed with the white QBs speaking up because those are voices that carry different weight than the black voices for some people,” Sherman said to Breer. “Which means the people who refuse to listen to a black athlete’s perspective will hear the same thing said from a white athlete, but receive the message much differently. So it’s awesome that more people are speaking out, because in sports, you really have a love and appreciation for your fellow man, regardless of race.
“And I think that’s what makes sports and teams so special, because a lot of the stereotypes are torn down. You really get to know one another, not judge based off nonsense.”
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Colin Kaepernick became the first athlete to kneel during the national anthem as a protest against racial and social injustices in the 2016 season when the quarterback still was a member of the 49ers. Kaepernick first sat on the bench during his protest, but after speaking with Nate Boyer, a former Green Beret who spent time with the Seattle Seahawks as a long snapper, the two agreed kneeling would be more productive.
Boyer supported Kaepernick's decision and stood by him while Kaepernick kneeled before a game in San Diego.
Kaepernick has not been signed by an NFL team since opting out of his 49ers contract ahead of the 2017 offseason, and general manager John Lynch also said in May 2017 the 49ers told the six-year NFL veteran they would release him if he didn't opt out of his contract.