NFL Football

49ers' Lynch: Anthem protests 'divisive', but respects players' rights

(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

(TSX / STATS) -- San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch told reporters that while he respects the decisions of NFL players that refuse to stand for the national anthem, he believes it also causes potential disagreements between players.

Lynch recalled a recent get-together involving Steve Young and Jerry Rice and how the legends talked about 'The 49er Way' as a means of player unity.

"I always thought that's one of the great things about this league," Lynch said. "As a matter of fact, I think it's a great beacon for the rest of culture, in terms of the way it should be. You strive for a common goal, and you have unity.

"And I think this game brings people together. So I think personally when I see that (protests), I think that's divisive. And I understand guys see things and they're not happy. They have that right. And I think we'll always respect people's rights. That doesn't mean I believe that. I believe this game should be celebrated for what it is. I think (it's) a tremendous unifier for our country and for the way things should be."

The protests came to the forefront last season after then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began sitting during the national anthem prior to preseason games. He later switched to taking a knee before the team's final preseason game and for the rest of the season.

Updated August 17, 2017

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