Jed York says 49ers abstained from NFL anthem vote

Jed York says 49ers abstained from NFL anthem vote

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday the vote was unanimous among all 32 teams in the league.

But San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York told reporters at the NFL owners meetings that the policy to prohibit players from any form of protest during the national anthem did not include his support.

The new NFL policy regarding the national anthem states::

--All team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag the Anthem.

--Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room or in a similar location off the field until after the Anthem has been performed.

--A club will be fined by the League if its personnel are on the field and do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.

--Each club may develop its own work rules, consistent with the above principles, regarding its personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.

--The Commissioner will impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.

“All 32 clubs want to make sure that during the moment of the anthem and the flag that that is a very important moment to all of us, as a league, as clubs, personally to our country,” Goodell said at a press conference in Atlanta. “And that’s a moment we want to make sure is done in a very respectful fashion.”

But York told a group of reporters the 49ers abstained from the vote. Terez Paylor of Yahoo! Sports was first to report York’s revelation. York has publicly supported the rights of 49ers players to exercise their First Amendment rights to protest peacefully.

“I think there are a lot of reasons, and I’m not going to get into all of those reasons. But I think the gist of it is really that we want to make sure that everything that we’re doing is to promote progress. And I think we’ve done a good piece of that so far,” York said, as reported by Kevin Seifert of ESPN.

The 49ers have been at the center of the movement to protest racial inequality and police brutality. Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid began kneeling at the start of the 2016 season. Kaepernick did not play in the league last year, but Reid continued kneeling, along with teammates Eli Harold, Marquise Goodwin and others. Reid has remained unsigned as an unrestricted free agent.

The NFL Players Association fired back at the NFL policy, stating the players have demonstrated their patriotism, in part, "through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about."

The NFL uses the most NFL way possible to deal with nagging non-problem of players kneeling

The NFL uses the most NFL way possible to deal with nagging non-problem of players kneeling

The National Football League has come to grips with social protest among its employees in the classic NFL way – as an optics problem.
 
And the solution is to let protest reign, as long as nobody sees it.
 
The 32 owners decided Wednesday to introduce a new rubric for individual teams to use in dealing with the nagging non-problem of players kneeling for the National Anthem – namnely, to offer the option of staying the locker room during the anthem. But the back hand of that is that teams that choose to be in plain view during the song cannot “disrespect” the anthem by not conforming to standing at rigid attention.
 
In other words, it put a band-aid on a paper cut and acted like it had casted a broken tibia.
 
Granted, there wasn’t a lot the league could do because, as has been the case throughout the last half-decade or so, it is lousy at contributing its voice to social issues. These are turbulent times, and the NFL has always worked best when conformity is the preferred public mood.
 
So the anthem solution, which is largely a red herring when it comes to deciphering why the league is losing ratings points and children’s attention spans, represents the NFL trying to simply hide the issue so that people will forget that it exists at all. And that may work for the moment because we as a culture believes that how things look are more important than how they actually are.
 
But the real issues besetting football are elsewhere. They are rooted in the game’s perpetual safety failings, the diminishing number of kids playing the sport, and the growing number of kids who don’t want to invest three-plus hours of watching on the weekends because “that’s what Dad does.”
 
It is, however, easier to kick the can down the aisle on those slowly building issues and deal with the barking dog of anthem disrespect. Kneeling for the anthem represents a social statement about our societal failings to the protesters, but to the NFL it represents a level of individualism and independent thought in a sport and business that greatly distrusts both of those things.
 
So the anthem issues will go away, but if the ratings are still decreasing at the end of this year of visual obedience, the NFL will be faced with the issue they thought they could clothe with a winter coat made of the American flag:
 
That maybe the sport wasn’t hurt by players' exercises of free speech but by evolution itself. Maybe, despite the shoutings of the true believer robots, football has finally crested in America, the guarantees of continued rampant growth no longer guaranteed in a country that is changing in more ways than sideline decorum can address.

Report: Eric Reid files collusion grievance against NFL

Report: Eric Reid files collusion grievance against NFL

Free-agent safety Eric Reid, 26, who played his first five NFL seasons with the 49ers, has reportedly filed a collusion grievance against the NFL.

The grievance is similar to the one former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick filed last year.

Kaepernick and Reid were the first players to kneel during the playing of the national anthem as a protest to racial inequality in the United States.

Shortly after the start of free agency, Reid posted the following statement on social media about his situation:

“The notion that I can be a great signing for your team for cheap, not because of my skill set but because I’ve protested systemic oppression, is ludicrous. If you think it is, then your mindset is part of the problem too.”

On March 22, Reid said he would consider different ways to be an activist and probably would not kneel during the national anthem.

“From the beginning, Colin has been flexible,” Reid said. “He started by sitting. He changed it up. We decided to kneel. And we understand that you got to change with the times. So I’m not saying I’m going to stop being active, because I won’t. I’m just going to consider different ways to be active, different ways to bring awareness to the issues of this country to improve on.

“I don’t think it’ll be in the form of protesting during the anthem. And I said ‘during’ because it’s crazy to me that the narrative got changed to we were protesting the anthem, because that wasn’t the case. But I think we’re going to take a different approach to how to be active.”

Two weeks later, Reid took a free-agent visit to meet with the Cincinnati Bengals and was reportedly “caught off guard” when Bengals owner Mike Brown brought up the subject and explained to Reid he intends to make it mandatory for his players to stand for the national anthem. Pro Football Talk reported Reid could not make a commitment on the spot.

Last year, Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL. The filing claims the NFL and its owners colluded to "deprive Mr. Kaepernick of employment rights in retaliation for Mr. Kaepernick's leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice and his bringing awareness to peculiar institutions still undermining racial equality in the United States."

The 49ers have not publicly closed the door on re-signing Reid. But the team signed strong safety Jaquiski Tartt to a contract extension through the 2020 season and drafted another strong safety, Marcell Harris of Florida, in the sixth round. Reid, a first-round draft pick in 2013, made the Pro Bowl after his rookie season.