According to 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, the decision was made by the players and the option was open to skip a day of practice rather than do a limited walkthrough as San Francisco did on Thursday.
#49ers Kyle Shanahan said he is taking the lead of his players.
If they had expressed not wanting to have practice, they would have cancelled it.
— Jennifer Lee Chan (@jenniferleechan) August 27, 2020
Shanahan explained that his door is always open and the communication among the team has been positive, but that the squad felt it would be best to organize on Thursday.
“You let guys know that,” Shanahan said. “It’s okay to bring it up at anytime. Whether they want to come into my office and talk to me personally about it, if the guys want to bring it up in a team meeting and have all of us talk about it together, whether guys want to take a day off to practice cause they feel there’s something we can go do to help this country.”
Shanahan also went on to discuss his hope for police brutality to end, as well as how the 49ers look at their HQ as a way to get away from the tumultuous nature of the world.
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On the Santa Clara “Sanctuary”
Shanahan went the honest route during the press conference, opening up on how he and his team feel about being back in Santa Clara, California after the pandemic disrupted and delayed the typical offseason.
“I feel like this place is a little bit of a sanctuary for us, you can come in, be yourself and we have a very authentic relationship between players and coaches, players and other players, players and personnel, just everyone in our building and its a place where you don’t really have to walk around on eggshells. You can kind of just be yourself. I feel that’s been good for our players, but at the same time you have to bring that same sanctuary for everybody.”
While every team attempts to foster a good locker room atmosphere and open communication, it appears that it’s truly vital to Shanahan’s way of coaching, and that it is a major reason for the 49ers’ recent success.
On Police Brutality and Jacob Blake
While NBA, MLB and MLS games have been boycotted and postponed as a response to the shooting of Kenosha, Wisconsin man Jacob Blake by police, the 49ers elected to go forward with practice.
But as Shanahan mentions above, the possibility of cancelling practice and stepping away was on the table for his team. He also went on to discuss the fact that his players know where he stands on the issues, which he reiterated on Thursday.
“There’s cameras out there and stuff, which is why I truly believe it’ll eventually change. It’s not happening fast enough, obviously. But you know, the way our building is, I was talking about this earlier today, we didn’t have jobs for a little bit not being able to come into the building during quarantine and everything. We’re sitting at home and discussing this stuff left and right, with family members, with teammates, with anybody you’re in contact with. To do that for a while and see the different relationships that are going on in the world right now, it was so nice for us to get back into our building.”
This comes a couple of months after Shanahan went on the record to discuss the lack of black head coaches in the NFL, which was one of many occasions in which the coach explained his support for racial equality.
Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the San Francisco 49ers for Heavy.com and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, Mont. Reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier and join our 49ers community at Heavy on 49ers on Facebook.