49ers

Eric Reid presents Colin Kaepernick Ambassador of Conscience Award

Eric Reid presents Colin Kaepernick Ambassador of Conscience Award

AMSTERDAM — Amnesty International gave former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick its Ambassador of Conscience Award on Saturday for his kneeling protest of racial injustice that launched a sports movement and might have cost him his job.

Onetime San Francisco 49ers teammate Eric Reid presented Kaepernick with the award during a ceremony in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands.

In his acceptance speech, the award-winner described police killings of African Americans and Latinos in the United States as lawful lynchings.

"Racialized oppression and dehumanization is woven into the very fabric of our nation — the effects of which can be seen in the lawful lynching of black and brown people by the police, and the mass incarceration of black and brown lives in the prison industrial complex," Kaepernick said.

Kaepernick first took a knee during the pre-game playing of the American national anthem when he was with the 49ers in 2016 to protest police brutality.

"How can you stand for the national anthem of a nation that preaches and propagates, 'freedom and justice for all,' that is so unjust to so many of the people living there?" he said at Saturday's award ceremony.

Other players joined his protest in the 2016 season, drawing the ire of President Donald Trump, who called for team owners to fire such players.

In response to the player demonstrations, the NFL agreed to commit $90 million over the next seven years to social justice causes in a plan.

Kaepernick wasn't signed for the 2017 season following his release in San Francisco.

Reid, a safety who is now a free agent, continued Kaepernick's protests by kneeling during the anthem last season. Reid has said he will take a different approach in 2018.

Kaepernick paid tribute to his friend for his own role in the protest movement.

"Eric introducing me for this prestigious award brings me great joy," Kaepernick said. "But I am also pained by the fact that his taking a knee, and demonstrating courage to protect the rights of black and brown people in America, has also led to his ostracization from the NFL when he is widely recognized as one of the best competitors in the game and in the prime of his career."

Amnesty hands its award each year to a person or organization, "dedicated to fighting injustice and using their talents to inspire others."

Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty called Kaepernick "an athlete who is now widely recognized for his activism because of his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination."

Previous recipients of the award include anti-Apartheid campaigner and South African President Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who campaigned for girls' right to education even after surviving being shot by Taliban militants.

"In truth, this is an award that I share with all of the countless people throughout the world combating the human rights violations of police officers, and their uses of oppressive and excessive force," Kaepernick said.

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 16-13 preseason loss to Texans

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USATSI

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 16-13 preseason loss to Texans

HOUSTON -- Here are three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 16-13 loss to the Houston Texans on Saturday night in Week 2 of the exhibition season...

Interior D-line has Depth

The 49ers still don’t really know from where their outside pass rush is going to come, but the interior of the defensive line looks to be in good shape. Veteran Earl Mitchell is a solid presence at nose tackle. And DeForest Buckner could become one of the league’s better defensive tackles.

Behind Mitchell and Buckner are a couple of young players who have put together strong training camps. Sheldon Day and D.J. Jones continued their impressive play on Saturday with strong showings against the Texans.

Day recorded five tackles and forced a fumble, while Jones came up with three tackles and a forced fumble, too. Day is in his first summer with the 49ers after the club claimed him off waivers from the Jacksonville Jaguars last season.

Jones, meanwhile, has made tremendous strides since his rookie season. He said he lost 20 pounds from the end of last season when he regularly found himself on the inactive list for games.

“I feel like it’s been a big turnaround, the way I changed my body in the offseason,” Jones said. “Toward the end of the season when I wasn’t playing, the way I practiced, it got me prepared for this season.”

In the Right Slot

Second-year player Trent Taylor missed most of the offseason program after undergoing surgery to remove bone spurs in his lower back. He has slowly been working back into form during training camp.

Taylor clearly made a lot of progress during this week in Houston. He was Jimmy Garoppolo’s favorite target during the two days of practices against the Texans. And Garoppolo looked for Taylor again on Saturday with a 2-yard touchdown pass to cap the 49ers’ first drive of the game.

“I’m starting to get stronger and get my legs back under me,” Taylor said. “It’s always good to feel improvement as you work. I still have a little ways to go, but it definitely felt great being out there tonight and getting my first catch as a TD.”

Taylor, the team’s primary slot receiver, had only two catches for 7 yards. But his other reception was a 5-yard catch to extend the 49ers' second drive on a third-and-4 play.

Penalties Galore

The 49ers certainly have a lot of room for improvement, especially when it comes to avoiding flags. Kyle Shanahan’s team was called for 15 penalties, totaling 140 yards.

What always gets to Shanahan most are the pre-snap penalties. Joe Staley (false start), Kendrick Bourne (illegal formation), Darrell Williams (false start) and Cedric Thornton (neutral zone infraction) were called for those kinds of infractions.

The worst sequence of penalties, however, went to veteran center Weston Richburg. He was guilty of a rare double-penalty on the first play of the second quarter when he was flagged for holding, then another 15 yards for his ensuing dialogue with the official.

Two of the penalties might have been excusable, though. Raheem Mostert and Jeremiah Attaochu were called for strict interpretations of the NFL’s new rule on lowering the helmet to initiate contact.

49ers' reserve running back picture remains muddled after loss to Texans

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AP

49ers' reserve running back picture remains muddled after loss to Texans

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON – The 49ers’ top two running backs appear set.

And the competition for the 49ers’ No. 3 running back appears to remain unresolved after the 49ers’ 16-13 loss to the Houston Texans in the second exhibition game of the summer for both teams on Saturday night.

Third-string quarterback Nick Mullens looked as if he pulled off his second fourth-quarter rally in two weeks, as he moved the 49ers into position for Robbie Gould’s 41-yard go-ahead field goal with 1:41 remaining in regulation.

But the 49ers' third-string defense allowed the Texans to drive 75 yards for the winning points, which came on Joe Webb's 41-yard touchdown pass to Vyncint Smith in the closing seconds.

A lot of the focus entering Saturday’s game was on the running backs, and for good reason.

Jeremy McNichols started and played most of the first half and into the second half. He did not find much room to run against a Texans defense that did not feature either J.J. Watt or Jadeveon Clowney.

McNichols, who spent last season on the 49ers’ practice squad, finished with just 28 yards on 10 rushing attempts. He caught three balls for 19 yards and also dropped a pass.

Joe Williams, a fourth-round draft pick in 2017, was the only other 49ers running back who saw action in the first half. He did not have much success, either. Williams gained 18 yards on eight carries. He caught two passes for 14 yards. But Williams also failed to hang onto a short pass from Nick Mullens, resulting in an interception.

Veteran Alfred Morris did not play. The 49ers signed Morris this week after Jerick McKinnon (calf) and Matt Breida (shoulder) were ruled out for the remainder of the preseason with injuries.

Raheem Mostert was the No. 3 running back last season, and he appears to remain in that position due to his contributions on special teams. Mostert appeared on the 49ers’ No. 1 kickoff and kickoff return teams.

He also lined up as a gunner on punt coverage with Aaron Burbridge on the other side. Burbridge and Mostert are likely the 49ers’ top two special-teams players.

Mostert demonstrated his prowess on special teams with a bone-jarring tackle of Houston return man Tyler Ervin for no gain on a punt return. However, Mostert was hit with a questionable unnecessary roughness penalty for lowering his head and initiating contact.

Here are some other notes from the game...

--Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo played the 49ers’ first 21 offensive plays, spanning two possessions, and completed 10 of 12 pass attempts for 136 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Garoppolo hit Marquise Goodwin on three completions for 61 yards, and tossed a 2-yard touchdown pass to Trent Taylor. His night ended when his high throw intended for Dante Pettis was deflected into the hands of Texans cornerback Johnson Bademosi.

--Defensive lineman Jeremiah Attaochu was also penalized 15 yards for lowering his head to initiate contact. Attaochu was flagged for making contact against an offensive tackle as a pass rusher.

--Texans cornerback Kevin Johnson fell hard after attempting to defend a deep pass to Goodwin. After receiving several minutes of medical attention, Johnson got to his feet and walked under his own power to the locker room. Johnson was diagnosed with a concussion.

--Mike Person started at right guard and played the first series for the 49ers. Joshua Garnett entered and played the remainder of the first half.

--Linebacker Reuben Foster and right cornerback Jimmie Ward played the entire first half. Foster had a team-leading four tackles and broke up a pass. Ward had three tackles.

--Reserve guard/center Erik Magnuson sustained a hamstring injury near the end of the third quarter and did not return. Magnuson had a difficult time walking from the sideline to the 49ers’ locker room.

--Emmanuel Moseley intercepted a pass that was deflected by fellow rookie cornerback Tarvarius Moore.

--Cornerback Richard Sherman, who returned to practice last week after mssing time with a hamstring strain, did not suit up for the game. He went through warmups but was held out of action. He did not practice against the Texans on Wednesday and Thursday, either.

--In addition to Sherman, the following 49ers were held out of the game due to injuries: running backs Jerick McKinnon (calf) and Matt Breida (shoulder), wide receiver Max McCaffrey (foot), tight end George Kittle (shoulder), offensive lineman Garry Gilliam (concussion), defensive linemen Solomon Thomas (concussion) and Arik Armstead (hamstring), linebacker Malcolm Smith (hamstring), cornerback K’Waun Williams (ankle), and safety Marcell Harris (hamstring).