United States President Donald Trump sent a firestorm across NFL locker rooms last Friday. Trump referred to a group of protesting players as "sons of bi-----" who should be fired.
Unsurprisingly, Sunday featured several league-wide protests and displays of unity prior to the playing of the national anthem. These protests are nothing new. Colin Kaepernick began the movement during the preseason of 2016 by taking a knee during the anthem. Eric Reid joined shortly thereafter.
The goal of Reid's protest is to bring awareness and incite change to the social injustices that take place in America. Trump's comments amplified the scale of the movement like pouring gasoline on a campfire.
On Wednesday, Reid, Kyle Shanahan and Pierre Garçon discussed Trump's remarks, the league-wide protests and the 49ers potential demonstration in Week 4.
Eric Reid on the basis of his protest dating back to 2016:
"There are a number of issues in this country (regarding) police brutality and social injustice."
Reid on why the events in Charlottesville ignited him to protest again in 2017: **
"That was huge. I was thinking about not protesting anymore before Charlottesville happened. To hear the president's comments about that incident, I was like, 'Come on.' What we did was peaceful. Somebody died in Charlottesville. People were beating people during Charlottesville. To hear them called as 'very nice people' lit the flame in me to want to (protest) again."
Reid on how much this protest means to him:
"I've wanted to be a professional football player my entire life but this is more important to me than that."
Reid on the idea of challenging America to improve:
"Every day, I come to work and criticize myself unendingly in order to make myself a better football player. Why can't we do the same for our country? We hold athletes to the highest standard in this building. Why can't we hold the country to the highest standard every day?"
Reid on what he wants his legacy to be:
"I want to be someone my kids can be proud of; someone who did the right thing even when it wasn't popular."
Kyle Shanahan on President Trump's comments over the weekend:
"I was pretty bothered by it. I think the same way most people were. I think I've got a lot of regard for that position. I have my whole life. It's a very important, big position to be the leader of our country and when you hear something like that, it definitely bothered me, especially when he's calling out people that you're associated with. But, the most bothersome thing is how everyone sees that position in our country and you expect that position to be the best leader possible and when I think of being a leader, I think of bringing people together. All I know is the quotes I read and when I read those quotes, I think that's the opposite of what you're expecting."
Shanahan on what the 49ers potential demonstration could look like in Week 4:
"Yeah, I anticipate us doing something together. I think that's really what it's about. I'm not exactly sure what. The players are talking about that, but they're going to think of the best thing that they want to do and whatever we decide, hopefully we decide to do it together."
Shanahan on why it's hard to "stick to sports":**
"I totally agree when people say that. You don't want a bunch of politics in sports. It's a way to get away from it. When it is effecting people and it is truly involving all of us, I know it's bothered a lot of people. You've got to separate the stuff, too. The stuff that's gone on in the country, going back to the last few years, has a bothered a lot of people for good reason. And then you go to the stuff with the flag, which some people associate with that, some people don't. But, then after this weekend it kind of threw us all in the same spot that we all were associated. I think that's kind of the time that you do need to address it with the whole team, because I think the whole NFL felt like we were all called out."
Brian Hoyer on how an NFL locker room can bring people together:
"If everybody got to experience playing and being in an NFL locker room for a year I think our country would be so much better. You get to experience people from all different parts of the country, intercity, country, maybe grew up rich, maybe grew up dirt poor. I've played with guys that are Atheist, Christian, Muslim, Hispanic, black, whatever. The one thing is you get to know these people and enjoy them for who they are. Trust me, I don't always see eye to eye with their views or their opinions, but you come together towards a common goal and you learn to respect and love them as your brother. I think if people were just more willing to be accepting to other people's opinions, you don't have to agree with them, you don't always have to go along with it, but it doesn't mean you have to hate them, that you have to be so divided."
Hoyer on Reid being at the forefront of the protest:
"He's trying to make things better. It's not to try to be divisive. He's trying to bring people together. What we end up doing when we finalize it on Sunday, hopefully that conveys that message more than just him taking a knee with a few guys around him. If we can all show that we support each other even though we have differences and different beliefs, hopefully that shows a united front as opposed to being divided."