Eric Reid may not feel oppressed, and he may not have agreed with the way Colin Kaepernick made his original point.
But he felt an obligation to a teammate, and that was why he took a knee next to Kaepernick during the national anthem last night.
Via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, the 49ers safety said the larger point his quarterback was making was the one that moved him.
“He is taking advantage of the platform that he’s given to bring awareness to a worthy cause,” Reid said. “What’s more American than that?”
This time, Kaepernick didn’t retreat to the bench, but took a knee near the sideline, and Reid took a knee next to him.
“It’s something that’s been on my mind all week and after talking to Colin many times, I talked to him today before the game,” Reid said. “People thought it was disrespectful for him to sit down. He was able to decide, ‘What if we took a knee instead of sitting?’
“And that came off as more respectful to the country, to the anthem, to the military. And I agree with that. It shows that he hears that people were hurt by him sitting, but he still believes in the cause that he wants to bring awareness to. So he changed his physical position from sitting down to take a knee to still show respect.”
That position might have become modified in part because of his contact with former Green Beret Nate Boyer, who met with Kaepernick for 90 minutes to talk about the issue, and stood next to them as the anthem played.
By taking a knee, Reid said, it was possible to both show respect for the military, but to continue Kaepernick’s message about police brutality, and the lack of true equality for minorities in this country. It hit home in particular for the Louisiana native and LSU product, as Baton Rouge was where Alton Sterling was shot and killed this summer while being detained by two police officers.
“I don’t personally feel oppressed, but there are things that have happened in this country that have touched very close to home for me — the situation in Louisiana,” Reid said. “I grew up around that. But this is a responsibility that he feels and a responsibility that I feel as well. It’s bigger than football.”
And as discussion continues about Kaepernick’s controversial decision, perhaps that point won’t be lost in chatter that veers to the military and socks.