SANTA CLARA — Eric Reid is the 49ers’ pipeline to Colin Kaepernick. But even Reid, the 49ers’ fifth-year safety, doesn’t know when or if Kaepernick will come out and discuss the surge of national anthem protests throughout the NFL.
“I’m not sure. He hasn’t given me an answer on that,” Reid said Wednesday. “But I’m hoping he says something.”
Truth is, Kaepernick said it all last season, weekly voicing his frustration and shedding light about America’s societal injustices and police misconduct.
That agenda got overshadowed when President Trump bashed the NFL and anyone who kneels during the national anthem, a gesture Kaepernick first made 13 months ago.
So what was Kaepernick’s impression when hundreds of players also protested during the anthem or linked arms with coaches and owners last weekend?
“He thinks it was a direct response to obviously what the president said,” Reid responded. “He wishes that this many people were involved last year.
“I don’t think the narrative would have went the way it went if we would have had more solidarity and could have focused on these issues.”
Reid and Kaepernick developed a famous bond last season as they knelt together through the anthems, starting in the exhibition finale in San Diego. Reid has attended Kaepernick’s “Know Your Rights” camps and has marveled at how many people rush up to Kaepernick on the street and thank him.
Reid has spoken “a lot” in recent weeks to Kaepernick, who lives and trains in Manhattan while his comeback idles after six seasons with the 49ers. When Reid resumed his anthem protest last month before an exhibition in Minnesota, Kaepernick tweeted his support: “My Brother (Reid) speaking truth to power! Love you Brother. Thank you for being a voice for the people!”
“The most hurtful thing is the smearing that’s happened to Colin and I,” Reid said. “We have the absolute best intentions. We want positivity to come out of this.
“We did it, because it’s for the greater good. It’s more than about making money. It’s more than about our dream.”
Reid, it should be noted, is in the final year of his contract. He injured his knee Sept. 17 in Seattle and is missing multiple games. He isn’t missing a chance to address the reasons behind his and others’ protests.
“I’ve wanted to be a professional football player my entire life,” Reid continued. “But this is more important to me than that. This is more important to Colin than playing football. It’s really frustrating that people don’t see that, um, that he has had to lose his job trying to do something right.”
Should Kaepernick, 29, still be on the 49ers, who are winless without him through three games under coach Kyle Shanahan and quarterback Brian Hoyer?
“I can’t speak to that. I don’t make those decisions,” Reid said. “I think Colin should be in the NFL.
“I think it’s asinine the things I’ve heard about him not being a caliber of player to make it in this league,” Reid continued. “He’s been to the Super Bowl. How many quarterbacks have been signed this offseason who’ve never played in a game? How many have quarterbacks have been signed this offseason who’ve never had a playoff win, let alone been in a Super Bowl.
“That’s disingenuous the comments I hear about him and his caliber of play.”