The San Francisco 49ers will donate $1 million to “local and national organizations who are creating change,” CEO Jed York announced in a statement on Twitter on Saturday night, amid nationwide protests against discrimination and police brutality.
York added that the team “is committing to support the legislative priorities of the Players Coalition,” an organization founded by NFL players in 2017 to oppose social injustice and racial inequality.
“People throughout our country are hurting,” York said in a statement. “Emotions are raw, and rightfully so. Heinous acts have been committed in recent weeks. Before we are able to realize impactful change, we must first have the courage and compassion as human beings to come together and acknowledge the problem: black men, women, children and other oppressed minorities continue to be systematically discriminated against.”
The statement drew mixed responses from former 49ers players.
Wideout Torrey Smith, who played for San Francisco from 2015-16 and has been involved in the Players Coalition, retweeted York and added, “I’ve had countless conversations with Jed about these issues when I was in SF. I’m grateful for his commitment to the Bay and injustices everywhere. Thanks
A few minutes later, former 49ers safety Eric Reid, who played with the 49ers from 2013-17, responded differently to York.
“Nobody wants your money Jed,” he wrote. “We want justice. We’ve always wanted justice. Y’all are truly diluted.”
Reid, who was the first player to kneel with Kaepernick to protest social injustice in 2016, withdrew from the Players Coalition along with a few others in December of 2017, saying the group was selling out and was not accomplishing anything meaningful.
When a user brought up Kaepernick in a reply to York, Smith added, “I was there and watched the way (York) handled the Kap’s protest. He was willing to support in anyway possible and was trying to figure out and understand how to help. I never heard him say ‘don’t kneel one time’. He focused on helping. He has my respect forever.”
Reid replied to Smith’s tweet by saying, “You speak based on your experience and I understand that. However, I can tell you that you never heard him say ‘don’t kneel’ because you never knelt. He begged me not to kneel.”
“Fair,” Smith replied.
York’s statement comes after days of protests in dozens of cities across the country, following the death of George Floyd earlier this week. Floyd, who is black, died while in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday, leading to murder and manslaughter charges against officer Derek Chauvin, who is white.
—Field Level Media