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Eagles Rookie Says He'll Join Kaepernick's Anthem Protest

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Philadelphia Eagles rookie linebacker Myke Tavarres said Monday will join San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in not standing for the national anthem.

Meanwhile, Kaepernick's former head coach Jim Harbaugh had mixed feelings about his actions.

Kaepernick sparked a weekend controversy when he chose to sit for the national anthem before last Friday's pre-season game against the Green Bay Packers in protest over the current state of race relations.


But despite the controversy, the veteran quarterback told reporters on Sunday he will be sitting again before Thursday night's pre-season finale in San Diego.

"I'm going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed," Kaepernick said Sunday at his locker. "To me this is something that has to change. When there's significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it's supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it's supposed to, I'll stand."

Now, Tavarres has told ESPN he will also sit during the anthem at Philadelphia's pre-season finale.

"Oh, I thought about it. Believe me, I definitely thought about it," Tavarres told ESPN of sitting Saturday night. "And usually I'm front and center on the line with the rest of the guys, and that's since pre-K all the way up. Saturday's game, I stepped back, I was in the background, and it didn't feel right to me at all, and so I will be taking a stand -- or sitting down -- for the fourth game."

Kaepernick explained his viewpoints to teammates during a meeting Sunday morning -- some agreed with his message but not necessarily his method. Some said they know he has offended his countrymen, others didn't even know what he had done.

"Every guy on this team is entitled to their opinion. We're all grown men," linebacker NaVorro Bowman said.

"I agree with what he did, but not in the way he did it," wideout Torrey Smith said. "That's not for me. He has that right. Soldiers have died for his right to do exactly what he did. ... I know he's taken a lot of heat for it. He understands that when you do something like that it does offend a lot of people."

Both Bowman and Smith are African American.

Meanwhile, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Saturday that "players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem."

And the 49ers issued a statement.

"The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony," Bob Lange, V.P. Communications San Francisco 49ers, said in the statement. "It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose to participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem."

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