The CEO and President of the San Francisco 49ers spoke to season-ticket holders Monday night, voicing support of the Black Lives Matter movement and their thoughts of the 2020 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
49ers CEO Jed York spoke at length about the 49ers’ recent actions pertaining to the Black Lives Matter movement, after the organization pledged $1 million to social justice organizations and raised a flag supporting the movement.
According to The Mercury News’ Cam Imman, York mentioned former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was the first NFL player to sit or kneel during the national anthem in 2016, sparking protests and raised voices from players around the league.
“First and foremost, you’re saddened and outraged when you see events take place, especially when they’re specifically violent events that are targeted at African-Americans. We’re focused on taking actions. When Colin started a protest movement in 2016, what we had talked about in talking to Dr. Harry Edwards, his message which we’ve adopted was to take protests to progress.
“We’re working with communities to make a difference. We’re allowing our employees and players to let their voices be heard. We’re in a little bit different place. We’ve had these conversations take place in a structured place since 2016 and we want to make sure they continue.
“We have to make sure we do everything we can that they have a voice, whether that’s making sure they can get out to vote (and that’s the best way to make your voice heard in this country), or if we can work with groups like the Players Coalition and others that can help change laws and tactics, that we might not be experts in.”
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Al Guido Confident of 2020 Season Happening
Guido also expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement, but the 49ers president’s comments on the possibility of a 2020 season were equally noteworthy.
“We’re preparing to play the 2020 season as scheduled. That’s the only thing we can do right now,” York said Monday in kicking off the 49ers’ state-of-the-franchise virtual shows this week. “We have to make sure our primary focus — the players, coaches, fans and all the people that work around the game — are healthy.”
Guido commented on the working relationship the franchise has had with leaders and experts in California, saying that the franchise is diligently working to ensure the 49ers return for a 2020 season safely.
“What I’d tell all of the Faithful tuning in: we’re working really hard with our county, and our county has been fantastic,” Guido said. “Our political leaders in California have done an unbelievable job in maintaining safety.
“We’re working literally every single day in communicating with them in terms of our return to sports and our return to games. I’m confident that we’ll have a NFL season.”
Additional Comments on Black Lives Matter Support from York
York had more to say on his perspective as the 49ers CEO, as well as giving a little bit more detail about exactly what the 49ers are doing to prevent racial injustice and inequality.
“We want to work with people that are experts, so that we can make real, serious change in this country.
“The thing we do know better than the political aspect of things that need to be changed, we certainly understand education. We understand giving people equal opportunities. That’s where we’ve done work for decades and will continue to do work
“We want to make sure we empower everybody in our organization and out to make the most of their lives and to have what I believe is equality for all and justice for all.”
Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the San Francisco 49ers for Heavy.com and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, MT. Reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier and follow Heavy on 49ers on Facebook.