49ers CEO Jed York Says Team Abstained from Vote on National Anthem Policy

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 23, 2018

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 9: CEO Jed York of the San Francisco 49ers addresses the media during a press conference at Levi Stadium on February 9, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers press conference was setup to introducing the new general manager, John Lynch, and the teams new head coach, Kyle Shanahan. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York said Wednesday the organization abstained from the vote on whether the NFL should regulate kneeling during the United States national anthem before games.

The NFL announced a new policy following owner approval that will allow the league to fine teams if a player kneels on the sideline for the anthem. Per Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, York said the Niners will halt concession sales at that time.

"I don't think we should be profiting if we're going to put this type of attention and focus on the field and on the flag," York said.

The Niners have been involved in the anthem debate since Colin Kaepernick, their former starting quarterback, started the movement.

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told Steve Wyche of NFL Media in August 2016. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

Last October, York told reporters he was originally "taken aback" by Kaepernick's decision to kneel, but his opinion has changed following more discussions with players:

"He got that feedback, and I think his message has been lost. And that's the disappointing thing in this is that his message has been lost about what he's been fighting for. And I think that's one of the things that's really struck me is the more you sit down with our players and hear what they're about, what they are fighting for, it's really, really hard to disagree with them. And I think the more that we can get that message out and understand what they're fighting for and why they're fighting for it, the easier that it's gonna be to make progress."

Kaepernick has filed a collusion case against the NFL after going unsigned since opting out of his contract with the 49ers last year.

Meanwhile, the NFLPA released a statement about the league's new anthem protocol, saying it will "challenge any aspect of it that is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement."

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