SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KTVU) - Strong reaction from 49er Faithful Wednesday over the NFL’s new anthem policy. Fans thought the controversy was going away, now it's back in the spotlight especially since 49ers owner Jed York was the only owner who abstained from voting.
“I don’t like it because you are taking someone’s rights that's what this country is built on is freedom,” said Marlon Allen of Santa Clara.
“You can do whatever you want on the streets,” said Keith Stephens of San Jose. “If you are getting paid, you are on a team you go with what the policy is.”
49ers fans on both sides had a lot to say about the new anthem policy. Hundreds of them filled the California Theatre in San Jose for the team's “State of the Franchise” address.
New this year, fans won't see players on the field kneeling during the anthem. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the change was unanimous. 49ers owner Jed York disputes that, saying he abstained.
In interviews Wednesday, York said, “I wanted to make sure we focused on the progress aspect of this, not focus on the protests and I think there's so much more to it than a player standing.”
York also said he plans to suspend concession sales during the Star Spangled Banner so the NFL isn't profiting during those two or three minutes. Some fans said they support him.
“I respect that because he knows we are in the Bay Area where there's such a wide diversity of opinions I think he did the right thing,” said Rogelio Salinas Jr. of Belmont.
“There’s so many people that are these super patriots in their mind but when you are at a bar do you ever stand up no?,” said Allen.
The kneeling controversy began with former 49ers Quarterback Colin Kapernick in 2016. It was a silent protest to police brutality and racial inequality. 49ers players we spoke to didn't have much to say.
“I’m not sure the details on everything,” said 49rs Player Joe Staley. “We will cross that bridge when we get there.”
“I’m not sure what I’m going to be doing,” said 49ers Player DeForest Buckner. “I haven't really thought about it. I’m glad they gave an option for the players.”
“We brought something up again that was kind of dying again now it's back to the light again,” said Shirley Caracci of San Jose.
“I’m ready to watch some football,” said Leslie Doherty of Belmont. “I’m tired of all the distractions.”