49ers CEO Jed York says Colin Kaepernick national anthem narrative 'spun out of control'

Colin Kaepernick - cropped
NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick (Getty Images)

49ers co-owner and CEO Jed York said this week that Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem was a “respectful” form of protest that somehow got “spun out of control” in public opinion.

Speaking on Freakonomics Radio’s “The Hidden Side of Sports,” York defended the former 49ers quarterback, who opted out of his contract with the team in March 2017. Now a free agent, Kaepernick has filed a collusion grievance against the NFL, claming teams have worked behind the scenes to keep him out of the league because of his protests for social justice.

“It’s hard for me to see taking a knee — like, if you can come up with a community or society where taking a knee is a disrespectful act, like by all means show me,” York said. “I feel like he tried to modify his position to be as respectful as possible during a very, very sacrosanct moment during a professional football game. And I think that the narrative sort of spun out of control.”

York said the 49ers had never suggested to other teams that they shouldn’t sign Kaepernick.

“We had no negative conversations with other teams saying, ‘Don’t sign Colin,’” York said. “We wouldn’t do that with Colin. We wouldn’t do that with anybody.”

Thursday, Kaepernick’s attorney, Mark Geragos, hinted to TMZ Sports that the Patriots and Raiders might be interested in the 30-year-old quarterback.