Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid of the 49ers were the only players who took a knee during the national anthem Monday night at Levi’s Stadium, although four others raised their fists.
Those four were Eli Harold and Antoine Bethea of the 49ers and Robert Quinn and Kenny Britt of the Los Angeles Rams.
On Sunday, players on the Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans held their fists in the air, a gesture made famous by sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos during the 1968 Olympics.
Also on Sunday, Harold, a second-year outside linebacker, took issue with ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer’s take that Kaepernick’s stance had caused friction in the 49ers’ locker room.
“Trent Dilfer you are an idiot. You really just (expletive) me off,” Harold tweeted.
Kaepernick began the protest last month, saying he could not honor the flag of a nation that oppresses minorities. He has vowed to donate $1 million and proceeds from sales of his jersey toward causes that address racial inequality. The 49ers Foundation also has pledged $1 million.
“It’s not easy to make a stand and to do something that’s not popular with everybody,” 49ers CEO Jed York said before the game. “I think that’s what Colin has done. And I think he’s done it in a respectful way. He’s trying to bring a voice to people he doesn’t feel have one. And I think we want to do the same thing. And we’re going to try to help him.”
On Sunday, the Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks stood with interlocked arms during the anthem. York was asked if the 49ers would organize a similar, team-wide demonstration.
“The locker room takes care of itself,” he said. “That’s not my place.”
Et cetera – Defensive lineman Arik Armstead, who didn’t play in the preseason because of a shoulder injury, didn’t start against the Rams. He entered in nickel situations, teaming with Ahmad Brooks on a sack in the first quarter. Quinton Dial, Mike Purcell and rookie DeForest Buckner started on the defensive line. In the second quarter, Dial tipped a pass that linebacker NaVorro Bowman intercepted.
▪ With Chris Davis sidelined because of an apparent hamstring injury, Jimmie Ward lined up as the 49ers’ nickel cornerback. Rookie Rashard Robinson took over for Ward on the outside.