49ers

Saints QB Drew Brees still believes kneeling is 'disrespecting flag'

Saints QB Drew Brees still believes kneeling is 'disrespecting flag'

Four years later, New Orleans Saints star quarterback Drew Brees isn't changing his stance. Even as the world protests racial injustices and police brutality after George Floyd, an African American man in Minneapolis, died in police custody, Brees still believes kneeling disrespects the flag.

"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America, or our country," Brees said Wednesday morning 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."

Many players around the NFL, including Brees' teammate Michael Thomas, 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, former 49ers and current Saints receiver Emmanuel Sanders and Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, took exception to Brees, a white man, making these comments, especially at this moment in history. 

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 he was a member of the 49ers. The 49ers played the Saints in New Orleans that season, losing 41-23. Kaepernick threw for a season-high 398 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the loss. 

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 that kneeling would be more productive. Boyer supported Kaepernick's decision and even took a picture with him in September 2016. 

Kaepernick has not been signed by an NFL team since opting out of his 49ers contract ahead of the 2017 offseason. General manager John Lynch admitted in May 2017 the 49ers told Kaepernick they would have released him if he didn't opt out of his contract.

Eric Reid, who joined Kaepernick by kneeling when he also was a member of the 49ers, and many others, believe Kaepernick was "blackballed" by the NFL for his protest. Kaepernick alleged NFL owners conspired to keep him out of the league because of his protest, but ultimately settled a collusion lawsuit with the NFL last year.

[RELATED: Jackson insists 'fake' NFL should apologize to Kaepernick]

Thousands of people have been seen kneeling as a peaceful protest against police brutality and racism throughout the last week since Floyd's death. Protestors have been seen getting people of all colors and genders, along with cops as well, to kneel with them in solidarity. 

This conversation will not stop, and there's reason to believe peaceful protests like kneeling will be seen when sports continue to bring more light to racism and police brutality in America.

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49ers' Nick Bosa says benefits of healthy offseason will show on field

49ers' Nick Bosa says benefits of healthy offseason will show on field

Nick Bosa was voted the best rookie in the NFL last season.

The 49ers’ defensive end is approaching the 2020 season with even-bigger expectations for himself.

“I’ve got some pretty concrete things that I’ve been focusing on,” said Bosa, the consensus NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and chosen as the overall Rookie of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America.

Bosa registered nine sacks during the regular season with a total of 80 quarterback pressures, according to Pro Football Focus. He added four more sacks in three postseason games.

Bosa came to the NFL with a reputation as an advanced technician. This season, he believes he will be better prepared mentally to become more of a down-to-down force.

”Last year, I didn’t really know what was going to work and what wasn’t and what was my go-to,” he said. “So just coming into games with a better plan of not wasting any time out there because you only get so many opportunities and you want to get those big numbers and help your team as best as you can and get the ball out. You have to come in with a plan and not waste any rushes.”

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Bosa said he has spent the past six months working on a couple of new pass-rush moves. Even before the draft last year, Bosa spoke about a cross-chop move that Aaron Donald has perfected on his way to becoming arguably the league’s best defensive player. Bosa has also been considering adding a spin move to his arsenal.

Bosa said he also has worked on making better use of his hands to ward off pass-blockers and get to the quarterback more effectively.

“I win a lot at the top of my rush, but a lot of the times I get washed by the quarterback or I don’t pose enough space and finish the plays, so that’s probably been the biggest emphasis for me,” he said. “And I’ve been working that in walk-throughs and drills all (off)-season.”

Bosa faced a number of obstacles as he prepared for his rookie season a year ago. He underwent core-muscle surgery that ended his final season at Ohio State after three games. Bosa spent months rehabbing and traveling the country to meet with teams during the pre-draft process.

After the 49ers selected Bosa with the No. 2 overall draft pick, a hamstring strain during the offseason program sidelined him until training camp. Then, early in camp he sustained a high-ankle sprain that kept him out until Week 1 of the regular season.

[RELATED49ers' Bosa 'not going to blame the ref' for big Super Bowl no-call]

While the 49ers and the rest of the NFL canceled on-field work this spring, Bosa trained daily with his brother, Joey, and he believes he enters his second season much better prepared than a year ago.

“I think I’ve gotten all of the benefits and I’m feeling it out here in these workouts, in these runs we’re doing,” he said. “I feel like I’m, by far, in the best shape that I’ve ever been. I don’t look much different because we don’t train to body-build. We train to play football, and I think it’ll show.”

49ers' Nick Bosa 'not going to blame ref' for big Super Bowl no-call

49ers' Nick Bosa 'not going to blame ref' for big Super Bowl no-call

Third-and-15.

Three words that will forever be linked to the 49ers’ inability to close the door on the Kansas City Chiefs in the middle of the fourth quarter of their Super Bowl LIV loss at Hard Rock Stadium.

Third-and-15 conjures up a bunch of “what-if” scenarios. The 49ers led by 10 points. They'd lose the game by 11. That play on third-and-15 gave the Chiefs a chance.

It took a while for Tyreek Hill’s downfield route to develop. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes needed time in order for Hill to fool 49ers cornerback Emmanuel Moseley into believing his destination was the deep middle of the field. Mahomes had just enough time to allow Hill time to break his route back outside.

What happened at the beginning of the play made the 44-yard pass completion possible. Rookie defensive end Nick Bosa appeared to beat Kansas City left tackle Eric Fisher with an inside move. But Fisher steered Bosa clear of Mahomes with his right arm wrapped around Bosa’s right ribcage.

Months later, does Bosa believe he was held on the play?

“I’ve gotten that question a bunch,” he said with a laugh during a video call with Bay Area reporters.

“I don’t like thinking about that game very much, but I have gone back and watched up until the fourth quarter and, um, was I held? I mean, it comes down to the opinion of a human being. So that’s what refs are. They’re human beings. So if they think it’s holding, they think it’s holding. It could’ve been holding. It could’ve not been holding. It just depends on what he thinks.”

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Referee Bill Vinovich did not reach for his flag, and the play stood.

Bosa did not have a chance after Fisher got his arm around him. Meanwhile, defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, who lined up inside of Bosa, was a split-second late in getting to Mahomes.

“I’m not going to say that’s the reason we lost the game because there were plenty of opportunities where I could’ve done better,” Bosa said of the no-call. “I could’ve done better on that move on third and 15. I’m sure Buck is kicking himself. He thinks he could’ve done better on the wrap and gotten there a little quicker. I’m not going to blame the ref, by any means.”

Buckner is now with the Indianapolis Colts after the 49ers traded him for a first-round draft pick that was used to select his replacement, Javon Kinlaw. Buckner is the only defensive starter who does not return for the 49ers this season.

[RELATED49ers' Bosa expects Kinlaw to 'kill it' in rookie season]

All the holdovers will use third-and-15 as “good motivation,” said Bosa. After all, his rookie season fell just short of the ultimate prize.

“First year, you get there and you’re seven minutes away and a nightmare of a situation happens,” Bosa said. “So you could bet we’re going to come back pretty strong this year if we’re able to get 16 games in and the playoffs.”