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Shocker: 49ers Alone Account for 30 of 52 Players Who Protested Sunday

The San Francisco 49ers, the team that served as Patient Zero for the NFL’s toxic contagion of anthem-protesting, had the largest anthem demonstration in the league on Sunday.

As the 49ers prepared to face the Arizona Cardinals, the entire team lined up in two rows, with the front row kneeling, as the national anthem sounded over the loudspeakers at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Phoenix.

Immediately after the team’s stance, the 49ers posted a tweet reading simply “Together.”

The team also posted a statement insisting that football is a “unifier of people” and pledging to continue defying those who oppose the protests.

“At its purest level,” the statement read, “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.”

The team went on to claim its protests are against purported “oppression and social injustices still present in our society, and urged American citizens to “embrace your differences, find strength in them, and come together for the good of all.”

The 49ers were not alone in issuing statements about the protests.

The Indianapolis Colts also issued a statement saying that protesting team members have a “platform” and they intend to keep using it.

In its statement, the Colts claimed that its players’ protests were not meant as “disrespect” for the flag or our soldiers. However, the statement also noted that the players “have a platform” and a “responsibility to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.”

These statements, which cast the anthem demonstrations as some sort of benign, non-offensive act which means no offense to the flag or those who defend it. Completely go against the stated intentions of the inventor of the national anthem protests, Colin Kaepernick. Who said last year, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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