The 49ers released a statement about the action: "At its purest level, football is a unifier of people from all walks of life, different socio-economic backgrounds, every corner of this country and around the world. As players, coaches, ownership and staff, we are privileged to work in an environment that is a tremendous example of how people can come together for a common goal. We not only put our differences aside, but we also use them to achieve that common goal by challenging each other to be better -- both in our professional and personal lives.
With his attacks on activist athletes, Trump again plunged into the middle of his favorite kind of drama — personal, aggressive, culturally volatile and entirely of his own making. For four days, the provocateur president has drawn criticism from the worlds of politics and sports for saying that football players who kneel during the national anthem should be fired. The conflict peaked Sunday with Trump’s remarks, which had the effect of uniting a newly minted opposition coalition that included a growing number of players and coaches, as well as some owners who have backed the president.
Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said the team wanted to stay in the locker room during the anthem but because of the timing of prime-time games, they could not because they would have missed the coin toss and also have been penalized. Most of the Raiders remained seated or took a knee during the anthem, including the entire offensive line, which is comprised of all minority players and is the lone all-black starting unit in the NFL, and the defensive line. Some stood with interlocked arms, as did Del Rio, and quarterback Derek Carr appeared to pray while looking skyward and standing.