49ers

Charles Woodson, Nate Boyer want Colin Kaepernick's kneeling understood

Charles Woodson, Nate Boyer want Colin Kaepernick's kneeling understood

Programming note: Watch the full interview with Nate Boyer and Charles Woodson on tonight’s episode of “Race In America: A Candid Conversation” on NBC Sports Bay Area at 8 p.m., hosted by Monte Poole and Logan Murdock.

The debate over Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling continues to evolve, most notably as it relates to the NFL. The league went from controversially shutting him out to embracing him and the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of George Floyd's death while in police custody.

Nate Boyer, the former Green Beret who advised the former 49ers quarterback to kneel rather than sit during the national anthem, had a powerful exchange on with Raiders legend Charles Woodson on "Race in America: A Candid Conversation" about framing Kaepernick’s now historic gesture, both when it happened and looking towards the future.

BOYER: "I’ve had this constant fear that when it comes to the NFL and comes to the anthem and all these things, that people are going to feel this pressure or this misconception of, OK. Well, if you take a knee you’re on board to fight against all these things. But if you don’t, does that mean you stand for racism or you stand for things not changing? And it’s not. It absolutely does not mean that. But I think that’s something I’m getting a little nervous about with the upcoming season because I know there’s certain people that feel that way. I know I need to not focus on worrying about those people, because there are certain people that are just not going to change."

[RACE IN AMERICA: Listen to the latest episode]

WOODSON: "The problem is, once the message got distorted, then you weren’t able to truly explain why you stand or wouldn’t stand. I stood for the National Anthem countless times, and in my mind I always thought about what you guys were going through. People who went to war, fought for this country. People who died, who didn't make it back. I mean, I actually would think about that. Interestingly, then when Colin knelt, then all of a sudden, when things happen you start doing a little research on things. So then you start researching the National Anthem and what it actually stood for when it first was written, and now you’re like, hold on, I can see his point now.  So now, you’re thinking to yourself, Okay, this is what Colin Kaepernick is kneeling for, I absolutely agree with that. 

"But on the other side of it like you said, Nate, you’re gonna stand for the flag. You’re gonna put your hand on your heart. There would have been nothing wrong with some of the players saying, ‘Hey, you know what, I can still fight against police brutality and racial injustice along with Colin Kaepernick, but I want to stand for the National Anthem. I want to put my hand over my heart.’  And that would have been fine. But, as soon as they said, ‘Aw, man you know, if you take a knee you're disrespecting the flag. You don’t care about our military. Then you should just leave this country.’  The whole thing went a totally different direction than it should have, when a person should have just been able to say, ‘I support Colin Kaepernick. I’m still going to stand for the flag, but whatever Colin is involved in, what he’s trying to combat, police brutality and racial injustice, I’m 100 percent on board.’ Bam! You know what I’m saying. The whole conversation would have changed, but people weren’t willing to do that. They had to jump on their sides and stay on their sides and they weren’t willing to come off of that side."

[RELATED: Why Charles Woodson objects to portrayals of George Floyd as a criminal]

BOYER: "Of course politicians in high places and mainstream cable news didn’t help in that either. For sure. They like to stoke that fire, they like to stoke that division. So that’s my biggest worry now, but I’ve been encouraged this last week because of the NASCAR stuff. NASCAR was just one microcosm of that, but to think that people are really, hopefully, listening more, and respecting that more and understanding it. They have every right to feel like Drew Brees said, he personally thinks it’s disrespectful and that’s totally his right. That’s OK. You can feel those things. But to not acknowledge that those are your feelings, your emotions, that it’s not just the truth you know what I mean?

"Now, I think Drew Brees is a great guy. That was just a misstep in that situation, and I think he's learned from that. And I hope a lot of people have learned from that. And I just hope that everybody can appreciate that regardless. I might feel this way and it’s OK to have a feeling about something, but to think that my way is just right, and the only way is just not fair. It’s just not fair."

49ers' Arik Armstead ignores critics of speaking up on social issues

49ers' Arik Armstead ignores critics of speaking up on social issues

Arik Armstead doesn't want to hear it.

The 49ers defensive lineman spoke to Sactown Magazine for its July/August issue, and says that if you're not willing to listen to his dialogue off the field about social issues affecting our country, Armstead doesn't want you tuning in to watch him and his teammates dominate on the field.

“If you don’t want me speaking out against racism and social issues and social injustices, then don’t watch me play on Sundays," Armstead said. "Can’t have a piece of me and not all of me.”

Armstead also joined NBC Sports Bay Area's "Race In America" series a few weeks ago, and spoke about the pain he felt seeing video of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police Custody.

"Like, why do I have to continue -- why do we have to continue to see people that look like us get murdered on social media and on the TV?" Armstead told Logan Murdock and Monte Poole on  "Race In America: A Candid Conversation." " ... I'm on Instagram, and I just got to see another Black person get killed unjustly."

[RACE IN AMERICA: Listen to the latest episode]

The 26-year-old also discussed a time when he was racially profiled by local police near a friend's house in Elk Grove.

“A cop gets behind us, pulls us over,” Armstead recalls. “‘What y’all doing? Where y’all going?’”

[RELATED: Colin Kaepernick, Nate Boyer helped enact real change with discussion]

The officer then made Armstead and his friends prove that they knew the people whose house they were traveling to, by bringing the cop with them to the front door and having the friend explain that he was acquainted with Armstead.

Armstead has made it clear he won't be staying silent or "sticking to sports." For those who don't want to hear Armstead's voice on these issues, don't expect him to care whether you watch him play on Sundays.

See Joe Staley's motivational IG message for 49ers' Kendrick Bourne

See Joe Staley's motivational IG message for 49ers' Kendrick Bourne

Joe Staley long has been a model of consistency for the 49ers, spending the past 12 seasons protecting a myriad of 49ers quarterbacks as San Francisco's starting left tackle.

Staley's younger teammates held so much respect for him, as you could see from the many who spoke publicly in the wake of Staley's retirement back in April.

It appears even in retirement Staley continues to inspire his former teammates, as 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne shared an Instagram direct message from Staley on Sunday morning.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

"Never lose sight of the goal. The ring," Staley wrote to Bourne. "That's all that matters in what we do. I never got it. You. Mr KB!! Go get it!! F-----g GET IT!! Make me proud bro. I love watching your hustle. All love."

Staley was responding to a video Bourne had posted of some of the hardware he's earned over his football career, including one of the game balls from the 49ers' blowout Week 8 win over the Carolina Panthers.

[RELATED: Why 49ers should explore David Njoku trade with Browns after demand]

Bourne and the 49ers came so close to helping Staley capture that elusive championship ring, but quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs rallied from a 10-point deficit to stun San Francisco at Super Bowl LIV.

The 49ers won the offseason in the eyes of some pundits around the league, and appear primed for another deep postseason run. It'll be up to Bourne, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and the rest of the 49ers' talented roster to finish the job if they can get back to the Super Bowl.