"That's divisive," Lynch said of players who sit or kneel during the national anthem, per the Mercury News' Cam Inman. "I understand guys see things and they’re not happy. They have that right. We'll always respect people's rights. That doesn't mean I believe that. I believe this should actually be celebrated for what it is, a tremendous unifier for our country and the way things should be."
Lynch's full remarks can be heard below, courtesy of Inman:
Cam Inman @CamInman
#49ers GM John Lynch on national anthem protests: https://t.co/Rc4UHs6HKT2017-8-16 20:09:10
Colin Kaepernick drew attention to the 49ers last season for initiating a silent protest during the national anthem as a statement against social injustice and police brutality, and he was joined in some capacity by a handful of teammates—several of whom are still on the roster.
While Kaepernick is still looking for work, safety Eric Reid and linebacker Eli Harold—both of whom knelt for the anthem—remain key members of the 49ers defense.
Cornerbacks Rashard Robinson and Keith Reaser, as well as safety Jaquiski Tartt, also took a stance in 2016 when they raised their fists during the anthem.
Elsewhere in the NFC West, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett told reporters Sunday he plans to use the anthem as a platform for a season-long protest because he wants "to see people have the equality that they deserve," according to the Seattle Times' Bob Condotta.