All eyes were on Colin Kaepernick when the national anthem began at Thursday night’s game in San Diego. The entire field was awash in red, white, and blue as the Chargers’ annual Salute to the Military began.
Kaepernick remained firm in his resolve to sit out the anthem, but this time he was not alone. 49ers safety Eric Reid joined Kaepernick when he took a knee during the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
— WSB-TV Sports Zone (@WSBTVsports) September 2, 2016
Kaepernick told the NFL Network that Reid had approached him regarding the stance he took at last Friday’s game, saying that he wanted to let him know “that he’s not the only person who feels the way he feels”:
“He approached me and said, ‘I support what you’re doing. I support what your message is. Let’s think about how we can do this together.’
We wanted to make sure that the message we’re trying to say isn’t lost with the action that’s coming along with it.”
But San Diego wasn’t the only stadium where a silent protest was taking place. In Oakland, inspired by Kaepernick, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane took a seat when the anthem began to play.
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) September 2, 2016
Lane spoke to ESPN about his decision to join in Kaepernick’s protest:
He said, in part:
“I didn’t tell Kaepernick I was going to do it…I didn’t tell anyone.
I just like what he’s doing, and I’m standing behind him. It’s something I plan on keep on doing, until I feel like justice is being served.
I am prepared for [the reaction]. And I don’t mean no disrespect to anybody, but I’m just standing behind what I believe in.”
And his teammate Richard Sherman said that he believed Lane was acting out of conviction and was taking his actions very seriously:
“Any time you stand up against the flag, it’s going to be perceived as something.
Obviously Jeremy doesn’t stand against those who sacrifice for this country or anything like that. He obviously understands the guys who have made the greatest sacrifice for our country and our freedom, but he also understands the oppression that our country has put African-Americans and minorities through for years.
Even with all of this, you are getting African-American veterans reaching out and saying that they have been discriminated against even in the service, so I think this discussion that Colin started is going to evolve into something deeper.”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was taken by surprise on Thursday, telling ESPN that he was given no prior indication of Lane’s plan to join Kaepernick’s protest. He also noted that Lane’s statement was not representative of the whole team:
“It’s totally an individual decision, but these are very interesting issues that we’re dealing with right now. Our team has been working at it, and we’ve been in the process of communicating about a lot of stuff right now. That was an individual thing. But I’m really proud of the progress we’re making in the conversation, and I look forward to continuing it with our guys.
We have a great group of guys that lead this team, and they’re going to help us as we move forward. I’m very much in support of them and how we handle it. This was an individual statement tonight.”
Kaepernick has said that he intends to continue his protest into the regular season, and Lane has indicated that he will remain seated as well.