As the NFL season moves along, one team remains steadfast in its national anthem protests in spite of fan opposition around the league: the San Francisco 49ers.
The protests started with the team in the 2016 preseason when then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat through the anthem, saying, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
Safety Eric Reid knelt beside Kaepernick last season and has carried on the protests this season. Several of Reid’s teammates have joined him in the protests.
Now the 49ers have taken their outspoken beliefs a step further, pledging a donation of $500,000 toward gun control, they announced on the team website.
Rather than focusing on improving on their 0-7 record, the 49ers are gouging their way into politics midseason.
The team’s commitment is part of what it calls a “Pledge for a More Understanding and Safer America,” which advocates for laws that would prohibit gun silencers, armor-piercing bullets and bump stocks.
The effort also calls for the ban of mechanisms that “allows for the conversion of a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic weapon.”
The 49ers said in a statement: “In the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas and the need for law enforcement and the communities they protect to have interactions grounded in mutual respect, all parties are pledging to advocate for common sense legislation to ban ‘bump stocks’ and any other mechanism that allows for the conversion of a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic weapon; armor-piercing bullets; and gun silencers.
“Additionally, the parties are pledging to lead an initiative to partner with professional sports franchises, businesses and faith-based and community leaders to create a public awareness campaign designed to improve police and community relationships.”
Some fans weren’t happy about the move.
49ers to give $500K for bump stock ban efforts https://t.co/xCyVS7OFvc if you would concentrate on football you might win a game.
— danny r, stringer (@1Xfan1) October 27, 2017
Yeah. Cause they sure don't know how to win They get paid millions to be 0-7! #BoycottTheNFL
— Andrew Brock (@thebrock1978) October 26, 2017
Guns can't hurt people without someone holding the gun and pulling the trigger the mods don't matter. DUMBASSES.
— Jessie Cross (@brabbs88) October 26, 2017
The 49ers said they will invite other NFL franchises to sign the pledge and “signing police unions will work to secure the support of other unions across the country.”
The NFL has been struck by declining ratings ever since the national anthem protests started in 2016. The move by players, owners and commissioner Roger Goodell to get political in the middle of the season hasn’t seemed to help as many fans have said they are boycotting the league.
There’s a time and place for everything; many fans have said the players’ voices should be heard, but their protests should take place outside of the sports arena when they’re on their own time.