Kyle Shanahan sees no lingering distraction from Reuben Foster release

Kyle Shanahan sees no lingering distraction from Reuben Foster release

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers do not owe Reuben Foster another penny.

Foster is now with Washington, the club that claimed him off waivers and will be paying him a weekly salary of $51,470 as he remains unable to practice or play while on the Commissioner Exempt list.

The only thing the 49ers owed after the decision to release Foster on Sunday morning was an explanation – to his former teammates.

The 49ers secured the second and third floors of the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay. Foster’s on-again/off-again girlfriend, Elissa Ennis, called 911 from Room 627 to report a domestic incident. Foster was arrested at the team hotel and spent the night in jail before getting released on $2,000 bail.

Ennis also accused Foster of violence after a February incident in Los Gatos. She later recanted her accusations under oath at the preliminary hearing, and the criminal case against Foster was dismissed.

Coach Kyle Shanahan took a straight-forward approach on Sunday in the 49ers’ locker room before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He gathered the team to briefly explain the reason Foster was no longer on the team.

And he followed up in a team meeting on Monday in Santa Clara.

“I gave them more information,” Shanahan said on 49ers Game Plan, which airs Saturday on NBC Bay Area (Ch. 3) at 7 p.m. “I explained my reasons why I wanted to do it, why (general manager) John (Lynch) wanted to do it, why we came to this conclusion.”

Shanahan told the team what guidelines had been put into place for Foster, and what he did to prompt the organization to make the decision to part ways with him.

“I told the team we felt very good about that, and wanted to get it all out there,” Shanahan said.

Shanahan asked the entire team if there were any questions. Nobody raised a hand. Then, Shanahan urged anyone who felt uncomfortable speaking in front of everyone to come to his office for a private conversation.

“No one did,” Shanahan said. “I think it was pretty clear. Everyone understood. Reuben is well-liked in our locker room, and people did feel bad that this happened and bad that it didn’t work out. But I think our team completely understood our position and understood why we did it.”

Shanahan said he does not sense the turmoil continues to linger over the team this week, as the 49ers shift focus to facing the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

“I felt very good about it. There hasn’t been a distraction at all,” Shanahan said. “It’s always tough when guys have to answer questions about it. But I think we cleared most of it up on Monday. We were very up front about what happened, and now he’s on another team. Hopefully, that’ll work out for him.

“Reuben is a good player. Guys don’t like losing good players, especially one that’s liked. But our team does understand why it happened and why we had to do it. When the guys do understand, you move on.”

Aaron Rodgers shades Drew Brees, says NFL protests 'NEVER' about flag

Aaron Rodgers shades Drew Brees, says NFL protests 'NEVER' about flag

Hours after New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees said he considered players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality against African Americans "disrespecting the flag," a superstar peer not-so-subtly pushed back.

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers shared a picture of him and his teammates locking arms before a 2017 game, writing in an Instagram post on Wednesday that such demonstrations have "NEVER been about an anthem or a flag."

"Not then. Not now," Rodgers wrote. "Listen with an open heart, let’s educate ourselves, and then turn word and thought into action."

Yahoo Finance asked Brees earlier Wednesday if he would support players kneeling in protest during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" this season, as demonstrators around the world protest police brutality in the aftermath of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man who was unarmed, dying in Minneapolis police custody last Monday. Brees, echoing comments he made four years ago when former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first sat then kneeled during the national anthem before games, said he "never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America, or our country."

Rodgers did not directly mention Brees, but the Saints signal-caller faced widespread rebuke Wednesday.

Star 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman called Brees "beyond lost." Michael Thomas, the Saints' best receiver and Brees' top target, didn't mention Brees by name on Twitter, but it was clear who he was referring to in a pair of tweets.

Malcolm Jenkins, who previously raised a fist during the national anthem, co-founded the Players Coalition in 2017 and signed with the Saints this offseason, said Brees is "part of the problem" with his "hurtful" and "insensitive" comments.

Just eight of the NFL's 32 starting quarterbacks are African American. After Carson Wentz, Ryan Tannehill and 2020 No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow spoke up following Floyd's death, Sherman said it was important for white QBs to speak out against police brutality and institutional racism because their voices "carry different weight than the black voices for some people." Just before Brees spoke, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said he would stop "sticking to sports."

[RELATED: Poole writes Brees revealed he's part of problem, not solution]

A day before his comments about the flag, Brees posted a black square on his Instagram page as part of #BlackoutTuesday. The social-media campaign was initially intended for members of the music industry to "disconnect from work and reconnect with our community" but later spread to celebrities, influencers and everyday users intending to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Scores of users initially posted with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, obscuring posts that #BlackoutTuesday participants hoped to elevate.

Brees used the proper hashtag Tuesday, but his understanding of his protesting peers' goals is now in question.

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

49ers' Richard Sherman speaks from experience in revealing police problem

49ers' Richard Sherman speaks from experience in revealing police problem

George Floyd's tragic death in Minneapolis police custody has rocked the nation, and while the human spectrum present at the countless protests across the country and world at large does point to some progress in racial equality, the catalyst that sparked them is a reminder that there still is so far to go.

That's why Colin Kaepernick kneeled. And the fact that people still don't understand why he did and still don't understand the message behind "Black Lives Matter" are reasons why more progress hasn't been made.

"I think that's the frustrating part," 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman said Wednesday on "NFL Total Access." "The people that the message is trying to get through to are unwilling to accept the message. And when you're combative and defensive about something you don't even fully understand, there can't be progress. So, whenever somebody says, 'Hey, this black man got killed on national TV in front of the world,' there should be a sense of anger from everybody, regardless of race, because it was just wrong."

Sherman's remarks came as part of a discussion in which he and former NFL defensive end Chris Long offered their thoughts on how players can use their platforms to fight racism in their communities. He spoke from his own personal experience in explaining the enormity of the issue at hand, and pointed to the disparity in how Floyd was treated by the police as compared to white mass murderers, such as Dylann Roof.

"As somebody who was born in Watts, California and raised in Compton and seen some terrible things, you understand that it's not always on camera," Sherman said. "It's not always on camera; It's just these few incidents you guys have caught on camera. There are hundreds of thousands of incidents you don't catch on camera, thousands of innocent men sitting in jail cells because it's word of mouth that has put them there. 'Hey, this person said they did this. There's not a lot of evidence, but hey, they're black. We assume they did it.' And so that's where people are getting frustrated and this has become the tipping point ... 

" ... for three officers to be on top of [Floyd], one officer on the side watching, and there's also video evidence of them kind of roughing him up in the car, like, that's not okay. And it wouldn't have been okay for them to do it to mass murderers who were white who came in and shot up innocent people. It wouldn't have been okay for them to stop them and not let them see their day in court. But the way those situations were approached is what a lot of people see problems with. Because [Floyd] wasn't a threat. 

"So if the man isn't a threat and he can't see his day in court, and two men who were actually full threats -- killed, murdered, they were real threats. They were threatening, they had guns -- and you didn't feel the fear or angst or anxiety to, 'Hey, pull a trigger. Let me shoot this guy before he shoots me,' that you do when a guy is unarmed, then that's part of the problem."

[RELATED: Sherman says Brees is 'beyond lost' with kneeling comments]

The problem Sherman describes is a complex one with many parts. But if we all do our part individually -- listening, learning, striving for change -- it can only benefit the whole.

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