San Francisco 49ers' Eric Reid on backlash against national anthem protest

Reid explains, "I knew I needed to use my platform to speak out for people who didn't have a voice."
9:16 | 10/10/17

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Transcript for San Francisco 49ers' Eric Reid on backlash against national anthem protest
Hey, San Francisco 49 Eric Reid has been one of the loudest voices in the NFL protest since it began. This Sunday he took it to another level by calling out vice president pence for walking out of the stadium after reed and some of his teammates took a knee during the national anthem. Eric's joining us via satellite right now because he's actually playing football and he's on the road. So welcome. Here's the first question. Can you just tell people, because you were one of the first people to join Colin Kaepernick in protest, tell people what this is about and what it's not about. When I first joined Colin in the protests, it was following the aftermath of Alton sterling. He was killed by police in my hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. At that point I knew I needed to do something. I needed to use my platform to speak out for the people who didn't have a voice. I joined Colin in protesting the issues in the country which include police brutality for black and brown people. And what is it not about? It's definitely not about the anthem, the flag or the military. I think that's the biggest pushback we've gotten thus far. When we decided to start this process, we decided to kneel as a sign of respect. So it's very confusing for me that it's been misconstrued as disrespectful. It is confusing. News was made Sunday when Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas cowboys said, and I quote, we will not disrespect the flag. If there is anything disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play. How do you feel about the fact that an owner is now telling his players that if they protest they can't play? I think that's a poor decision on Jerry's part. We have a constitutional right to protest and that's all we're doing. We're exercising it. It's a peaceful protest. We're not doing anything violent. We're simply trying to raise awareness around the issues that our country faces. I quoted James Baldwin in the op-ed that I did that we love this country so much that we reserve the right to criticize her perpetually and we want to make our country better. Eric, you said you don't know if any of the players will actually kneel at their next game, but what would you do if you were on the team, on that team? If I were in Dallas, I would explain to Jerry where I'm coming from, what these issues are and I would try to helped Kate him on why we're protesting and I would continue to protest because it's my constitutional right. The audience seems to be with you by the way today. Now, the president, trump, called you and all the other NFL players who have been kneeling S.O.B.S, and then this past weekend vice president pence left your game after you and some of your team kneeled during the national anthem. What's your response to all of that? It's disheartening that the president of a country would call any of his citizens an S.O.B. But then when you compare that -- When you compare that to the events that happened in charlottesville or neo Nazis killed a person and nearly beat another person to death, and he calls them very fine people, it's sad. But he's giving us an opportunity to continue to speak about these issues. I'm here today talking to you because of what he said, so in a way, I'm kind of grateful that he's made those comments because it's allowed our platform to broaden. I really don't know why he said what he said. Hey Eric, it's Meghan. I am going to be a little bit of a voice of dissension on this. An overwhelming number of polls show that the majority of Americans think that what you're doing is wrong. How do you respond to that, and do you think it's just racism? That's why I'm here today, to try to control our narrative. It's been miscon str con trued as disrespectful to the flag, the military and the anthem. I have the utmost respect for Yo father, my mother who served and anybody who served and protects our country. And I do appreciate that. I think men and women in the military should know that and hear that. But Mike pence left a game and I understand that you said it was an act of, quote, systemic oppression. So if I left your football game, would you think that I would be behaving in the same way? You're not the vice president of the United States. Fair enough. Oppression is defined -- When you say systemic oppression, the act of leaving -- to me it's also a form of peaceful protest. Systemic oppression is defined as using your power to unjustly control people. The vice president went to that game knowing ahead of time that the San Francisco 49ers had the most players engage in the protest, so he went to that game knowing that we're going to protest again and he went to that game knowing that he would leave after the anthem so he could miss construe our message furthermore and say it's being disrespectful. Eric, a lot of football fans who view your protest as disrespectful were seen burning their tickets and Jerseys. What do you say to them? Before or after the game? Probably after. They probably used it first and then burned it. I was just asking. I would encourage these people to educate themselves on the issues that we're talking about. We didn't get here overnight. Today is a product of the history of our country that days hundreds of years ago. You know, you were talking about the Dallas team. What I would say to him is you have players of color on your team so you know that this has happened at least once or twice to one of your players on your team. So being maybe able to have that discussion with him to help him understand what this is about because I think once you start to say it's this, it's this, it's this and people take that narrative over, they can change it to what they want. You're a child of the military. Most people who are on these football teams, they also have family in the military. So the idea that you're considered disrespectful -- you're not considered disrespectful when you criticize a gold star family of a soldier, fallen soldier, when you say soldiers aren't -- you don't like soldiers who have been captured. When you're slow to condemn Nazis and the kkk, to me that's disrespectful. That's disrespectful. Right. Eric, it's interesting to me that when I was told your mother's in the military, it's clear that you feel the same patriotism that I do because I think anyone who has a military family has that understanding, but you could understand probably better than people who aren't in military families why it seems so offensive and I just want all of us to get on the same page in one form or another because I don't think this is good fgo good for America. What do you wanted to say to America because you have our attention. We're talking about this on "The view." People like me are listening to you. What legislative action would you like to happen? What do you want going forward? The reason I'm here today is to clear that up. My mother did serve, my uncles did serve. My cousin just got back from Germany. This is not about disrespecting the military or the anthem. This is a way for me to bring awareness around these issues in our country. Moving forward I think something has to be done as regards to police brutality. I don't think they should be able to use lethal force when a citizen is unarmed. That's a very simple start. Yeah, I know, I know. Everybody calm down. I'll get it. You know, they all want me to do this. They won't let me do it though. So your former teammate, Colin Kaepernick, has not been picked up by another team this season. Why do you think the NFL -- or do you think the NFL has turned its back on him? I think the NFL definitely has turned their back on him. I think they viewed this as a pr nightmare. I think our message has been misconstrued and this is a product of that. So I'm on the show here today to clear that up to say we started this protest with the intentions of bettering our country. We had the purest intentions, Colin had the purest intentions and unfortunately it's been misconstrued. You know what, you come when you're in the off season come hang with us and we would love to talk to you more. It's great to have you talking about this, and thank you for doing it with us. Our thanks to Eric Reid. We will be right back. Thank you, Eric.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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