MINNEAPOLIS – Free safety Eric Reid, who joined Colin Kaepernick during his protest last season, was kneeling alone on the 49ers’ sideline before Sunday night’s nationally televised game against the Minnesota Vikings.
NBC Sports cameras captured Reid kneeling on the 49ers’ sideline during the national anthem. Reid had said since the offseason that he would not continue to the protest, which was designed to bring attention to inequality and police brutality against minorities.
On Sunday, Reid took a knee while wide receiver Marquise Goodwin placed his left hand on Reid's right shoulder.
First-year 49ers general manager John Lynch originally called the protests “divisive” but later clarified his stance during an appearance on KNBR on Aug. 18.
“If I could take one thing back, I would have changed that word, because of the negative connotation," Lynch said. "But I was really trying to make the point that our game should be a beacon for what can be."
When first asked about the protests that have occurred around the NFL, Lynch spoke about using the sport to bring together individuals from all backgrounds.
”I think it’s a great beacon for the rest of culture in terms of the way it should be. You strive for a common goal and you have unity. And I think this game brings people together. So, I think personally, when I see that, I think that’s divisive. …”
Reid, a fifth-year player, is entering the final year of his contract. He is the team's starting strong safety. Last season, Reid, Kaepernick and Eli Harold took a knee during the playing of the national anthem. Harold has stood for the national anthem for all three 49ers' exhibition games this summer.