ALLEN PARK, Mich. — For the past three weeks, Eric Ebron has watched from the sidelines. The Detroit Lions tight end hasn’t practiced. He hasn’t played in games. He has been doing some mentoring of younger tight ends, and that’s about it.
All the while, he has had one thing in his head as he has watched the Lions play without him.
Harbaugh has talked with Kaepernick two or three times over the years and knows him through his brother Jim, who drafted Kaepernick in 2011 and coached him for four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. He mentioned Kaepernick comes from a great family and was raised the right way, which “reflects in how successful he’s been.”
But Harbaugh said it’s a fine line between standing up for what you believe in and not becoming a distraction to the team. He tells his players that you have to make sure you believe what you say publicly because you have to own it.
“You respect our team, our organization and the other players,” Harbaugh said. “You respect the mission that we’re on and what we’re trying to accomplish. None of us ever want us to detract or disrespect the efforts of all the other players on the football team. That’s the balance that all of us have to strike when we speak out about something like that.”
What’s the best team this year’s salary cap can buy? This is my third year building a roster that answers that very question.
Martin Halloran, the San Francisco Police Officers Association president, sent a letter Monday to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and 49ers CEO Jed York denouncing Kaepernick’s “ill-advised” statements and a “naivete” and “total lack of sensitivity” toward police, along with an “incredible lack of knowledge” about officer-involved shootings.
The police union invited Kaepernick or anyone else from the league to visit the San Francisco police academy to build communication and understanding about the profession.
“I only wish Mr. Kaepernick could see the emotional and psychological challenges that our officers face following a fatal encounter,” Halloran wrote. “Some are so affected they never return to the streets. In short, Mr. Kaepernick has embarrassed himself, the 49er organization, and the NFL based on a false narrative and misinformation that lacks any factual basis.”
Kaepernick, who has sat through the anthem at all three 49ers preseason games so far, is prepared to keep fighting for what he believes in, even alone.
“The fact that it has blown up like this, I think it’s a good thing. It brings awareness,” Kaepernick said Sunday. “Now, I think people are really talking about it. Having conversations about how to make change. What’s really going on in this country. And we can move forward. …There is police brutality. People of color have been targeted by police. So that’s a large part of it and they’re government officials. They are put in place by the government. So that’s something that this country has to change. There’s things we can do to hold them more accountable. Make those standards higher.”
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Monday that he meets with his players every year to discuss the national anthem.