Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports



While the rest of the NFL toned down the national anthem protests on Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers stepped up theirs. The week prior, hundreds of NFL players took part in protests, which were triggered by controversial comments made just days before by President Trump.

For the 49ers, they had played their last game on a Thursday night – a day before those comments were made. So the team used the time prior to Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals as its opportunity to show unity against those comments, much like the rest of the league did a week earlier. Half of the team knelt during the national anthem while the other half stood behind them with their hands on the kneeling players.

"I think the players were happy with it," Shanahan told reporters on Wednesday. "I think what was different for us was we never got our opportunity after what happened the week before. So, I think everyone wanted the opportunity to show the unity and show that we were together regardless of any differences of opinion. I think the players were pleased with that."

Following the trend around the league, it sounds like Sunday's team demonstration may have been the only one for the 49ers. The team is not currently planning a continued protest, according to Shanahan and numerous players.

"As far as going forward, they haven't mentioned anything to me," Shanahan said. "I'm assuming that we'll go back to doing whatever you've done for the flag the rest of your life. I know I will. If they bring anything to my attention that they'd like to do, then I'll have that discussion with them."

While the 49ers may not be planning anything as a team, safety Eric Reid, who has been kneeling all season, plans to continue doing so. He feels that Sunday's team effort has helped the cause.

"I think we're starting to get through to people," Reid told ESPN. "There's obviously always a person or people that don't care, don't want to listen. They think what they want to think based off the headlines. I think we're getting through to people.

"We have just got to keep talking, keep talking and then take those conversations and make them into actions, whether that's with the elections coming up for district attorneys or the president when that happens. We have just got to make better decisions as a country to reverse what's happened with the justice system, with the system in general. I know those are vague terms that some people don't really understand, but you've got to understand the history of how the system got to where it is today. We need to make changes to get ourselves out of this hole."

Reid, who joined Colin Kaepernick shortly after the former 49ers quarterback initiated the protests, plans to continue his role as an activist for racial equality and even plans to help push for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to make November a month the league dedicates to activism.

"I really feel like this is going to be a long, long, long journey ahead of us," said 49ers linebacker Eli Harold, who also knelt with Kaepernick last season. "This is something that could last forever. This is something that could roll over to baseball players. The NBA players are already doing it. Everyone is not brave enough to start something. That's why Colin is the most brave person I've ever seen in my lifetime for taking a knee. That's starting something."

The winless 49ers play the one-win Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.