Brian Hoyer: ‘I don’t want to kneel … (but that) doesn’t mean that I can’t support my teammate.’


This is the transcript of Brian Hoyer’s Week 4 Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers P.R. department.


Do you feel refreshed?

“I do. That Thursday Night game is always, depending on where you get it in the season, if you get it late you’re kind of going in banged up. But, if you get it early enough it’s kind of like having an extra bye week. Especially this early on. We’ve had some injuries so we get some guys healthy and for us to kind of hit a reset button and get ready to go.”


Head coach Kyle Shanahan just mentioned you guys were discussing what you want to do as a team on Sunday. What have those discussions been like? What’s your opinion of it and what have you had to contribute to it?

“We have a leadership counsel. We sat down and talked, everybody together, with Kyle and [General Manager] John [Lynch]. We’re still deciding what it’s going to be. For me, because I don’t want to kneel for the national anthem, it doesn’t mean that I can’t support my teammate and brother that feels like he wants to. Whatever we do, we’re going to do as a team. I think that’s the great thing about America, everybody is entitled to their own opinion. Entitled to do what they want to do. I think the one problem is, a lot of people if you have a different opinion you dislike them or you hate them because they don’t see things the same way that you do. I’ve always said this. I did an interview during training camp on the radio. If everybody got to experience playing and being in an NFL locker room for a year I think our country would be so much better. You get to experience people from all different parts of the country, intercity, country, maybe grew up rich, maybe grew up dirt poor. I’ve played with guys that are Atheist, Christian, Muslim, Hispanic, black, whatever. The one thing is you get to know these people and enjoy them for who they are. Trust me, I don’t always see eye to eye with their views or their opinions, but you come together towards a common goal and you learn to respect and love them as your brother. I think if people were just more willing to be accepting to other people’s opinions, you don’t have to agree with them, you don’t always have to go along with it, but it doesn’t mean you have to hate them, that you have to be so divided. Having two kids at this time the way the world is going, it’s scary. I think it’s becoming more and more divided. For us, if we can show some kind of unity as a team, I may not do the same thing that they do as far as taking a knee, but I can support them. That’s their right to do that. That’s their opinion. I think if we can show more unity instead of being divided I think that’s what the world needs now more than ever. So, I think for me, whatever we decide to do we’re going to do as a group, as an entire team. Not force someone to do something they don’t want to do, but also support people who want to do something that they may want to do.”


Did you watch much ball on Sunday?

“I tried to actually just spend time with my wife and kids. So, in and out here and there. Threw on the NFL Redzone for a few minutes. Other than that, you don’t get a lot of family time during the NFL season. So, I tried to use it the best I could.”


Do you think what’s happening right now, your decision, and all the time and energy you’re spending to decide what you’re going to do, do you think that’s a distraction?

“Well, I’d like to spend it on football. But, I think it’s an important thing that’s ongoing, especially when it gets called out by the President. I think you have to address it. You have to go in with some sort of plan. I think you saw that around the league. Teams went out with some sort of plan. Whether it was stay in the locker room, what Dallas did the other night, it’s unfortunate that we want to focus on football you have to take time away to do it. But, I think it’s needed. You have to sit down and figure out and have a discussion on the table and say, ‘Well how do you see it and what do you want to do?’ Then that way, like I said, we can go out and show a united front as our team.”


I keep thinking about as far as what you said about the experience in the NFL locker room and how important it is. Do you think it’s the developed skill of just being able to listen and learn from people?

“Yeah, I think the one thing that a football team has that the whole country doesn’t have is we have a common goal. We’re always working towards something together. You’re going through things together. Obviously, that’ll never happen with the entire population. But, I think the one thing is you just learn acceptance and you learn that even though someone may be totally different than you, you can find to become best friends with them. Really if you just sit and listen to them and talk to them and see what they’ve gone through and try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. I think more now than ever, maybe because I’m older now I recognize it more. But, I think you either are on one side or the other and it seems like if you’re in the middle you’re kind of on your own. It’s like you have to pick a side. If people were more willing to accept other people and their differences, I think that’s the greatest thing about this country. We’ve got people from all over the place, all over the world. That’s why we are the greatest country in the world. You just have to go out and be able to be willing to accept those people for who they are.”


Have you talked to S Eric Reid since you’ve been here about some of these issues that he’s had through protesting and what things have you learned from him?

“I think more so in a group setting. I’ve never really talked to him one-on-one. It came out the other day when we were trying to decide what we wanted to do. I think the one thing that he emphasized to us is he’s not doing it in any disrespect to the flag, to the military. It’s for those people who don’t have a voice to stand up and say something. It’s funny because being a professional athlete I think a lot of people look at us as quote-unquote ‘celebrities.’ I’ve never really felt that way about myself, but in the grand scheme of things you have a platform to stand up and say something and people will listen. What Eric has done is taken his celebrity or whatever you might call it and try to put it to good. It’s been obviously analyzed to the nth degree. What he emphasized to us as the leadership council was it means no disrespect to the flag, it means no disrespect to the military, the people who have fought to be able to give him that right. It’s for him trying to do something for the people that don’t have as big of a voice as he does.”


You can maybe make the argument that what he’s doing is kind of patriotic. Because he’s just trying to make things better. In terms of equality and justice.

“Yeah. Like I said, when he conveyed it to us it’s no disrespect to the flag, the anthem, the military. Like you said, I think that’s the thing, he’s trying to make things better. It’s not to try to be divisive. He’s trying to bring people together. What we end up doing when we finalize it on Sunday, hopefully that conveys that message more than just him taking a knee with a few guys around him. If we can all show that we support each other even though we have differences and different beliefs, hopefully that shows a united front as opposed to being divided.”


When you reference the football locker room, is there an example in your life in high school, maybe even earlier that opened your eyes to a different group that you might not have?

“I went to an all-white basically Catholic boys school in Cleveland, Ohio. Going to Michigan State was kind of my first. Even then, you go to these football camps and you get to meet these other players who maybe are from inner-city Detroit. My first roommate at Michigan State was a black kid from inner-city Detroit and we got along great. For me, it was such a cool experience because it was so different. You get to meet so many different people. And then you move on and you keep meeting other different people. I’ve played with guys from Germany, from the backwoods of Alabama, the inner-city of Detroit. You just get to meet so many different people. When you’re actually, I don’t want to say forced, but you get to spend time with people more than five minutes when you’re walking by them on the street. You get to understand that everybody has a different walk in life. Everyone has different views, different opinions, different religion, race, whatever it might be. But, we’re all human beings. If you just give people the time of day to figure out who they are and what they are, and like I said, it’s easy for us because we go out there and get our butts kicked together by [head strength & conditioning coach] Ray Wright in the offseason and it just brings people closer together. I think in general you have to be able to be accepting of people. It’s okay that someone might not see something the same way you do. But, that doesn’t mean you have to dislike them or hate them. Just appreciate them for who they are and move on with your life. I think that’s the one thing, I think people get consumed so much with what other people are doing instead of just worrying about their own life. That’s another thing about football is you always try to worry about what you can control. I’m not going to worry about controlling somebody else’s beliefs or opinions. It’s not up to me to do. It just adds stress, really. When it comes to anything I just try to control what I can control and live my life that way.”


Looking ahead to Sunday, you guys had a lot more success against the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday but it still took a while to get things going. How do you get going on the road to avoid playing catch-up?

“You just want to go out there and execute plays. Whether it’s a run play, pass play. Get a rhythm. Get that first, first down and get things going. Just like any week in the NFL, it’s always a challenge. Even watching the film from the Dallas game the other night, the score maybe wasn’t what it turned out to be. [Dallas Cowboys QB] Dak [Prescott] made two great plays getting out of the pocket and throwing the ball deep. That’s basically 14 points right there. It’s going to be a challenge, especially on the road. It always is. You’ve just got to go out and keep executing. Sometimes it goes great and you go right down on the field and score. Sometimes you’ve got to grind it out a little bit, get a feel for what they’re doing and go and attack what they’re doing.”


I know executing is the name of the game, but is there anything you can do with the script in particular to somehow get an early rhythm?

“You always try to go in and visualize ‘Okay on this play if we get this coverage you’re going to go here.’ You always try to do that. Then it’s just about going out and maybe you’ve got a different coverage than you didn’t expect or different run look or whatever it is and you have to be able to adjust and make those adjustments really as the game’s going on.”


The first two games as you said hadn’t gone great. A lot of people commented in the aftermath ‘That guys showed a lot of guts and poise and moxie’ or whatever the case is. Did you feel that? Are you proud of the way–?

“I’m always going to play that way. I’m always going to play as hard as I can until the game’s over. You talk about not worrying what you can’t control, I can’t control the previous play. I can only control what I’m doing on that play. That’s the one thing is if you let it kind of linger and keep going it could affect the way you play. I think for me the biggest thing was obviously that first play didn’t go the way I wanted it to, but you come over, shake it off and go to the next play. Figure out what the plan is. Because you know you’re getting the ball right back where you put them in that position. Figure out what you’re going to do on the next drive. I think for me that’s the one thing, you handle the adversity and move on to the next play. Really that’s all you can do. The more you get angry, the more you get upset, it’s going to affect the way you play.”


Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians has a reputation for being very blunt with his players and media. Kyle kind of seems like he’s following along that same path. You’ve been around Kyle for a long time. Do you appreciate a coach who is kind of straight forward and honest with you?

“Yeah, for sure. You never want someone to sugarcoat anything with you. You want directly from the source exactly what he’s thinking. That’s been Kyle since the day I’ve known him. He can’t be a sugarcoat-type of guy. He’s going to give it to you exactly how he sees it, right then and there. For me, as a player, you always want that. You don’t want to be thinking, ‘Well is he just trying to be nice about this?’ No. Kyle is going to be very blunt, right to the point and say, ‘Hey, you messed up on this.’ Or even, ‘Hey great job on this, now when you get this play next time,’ It’s all about getting right to it and not beating around the bush. I think as a player, ultimately that’s what you want. Sometimes the guy who sugarcoats it might make you feel a little bit better about things, but really it’s just hiding what you need to get done anyways.”


Has there ever been a moment where you’re like, ‘Boy he was a little too honest here,’ with him?

“There’s been plenty of moments. He’s got the ability to reign it back in and get right to the next play. Kind of what we talked about before. Fix what you can and just move on to the next one.”


What did he say after the first play the other night?

“He just said, ‘Hey don’t worry man, just keep letting it rip. Don’t worry, it is what it is.’ I remember I joked when they were reviewing the one play. I went up to [Los Angeles Rams CB] Nickell [Robey-Coleman] and said, ‘Hey man good guess.’ You know what I mean? It’s the first play of the game. We’ve got our fastest guy going in motion and he didn’t move. So, good play by him. The only thing I could’ve done is just throw it in the stands. So, he made a good play and you just move on to the next one. That’s really all you can do.”


You seemed to develop a quick rapport with WR Trent Taylor back in the summer. What is it about him that makes him a sort of trustworthy receiver?

“He’s got a unique skillset. You saw it on his touchdown. The way he was able to go out, break off a cut and come back in so quickly. If you go back and watch that play you see how fast he can get in and out of cuts. That’s what you look for in a guy who’s trying to get separation. Especially in man coverage. He’s done a lot of hard work. The one thing about guys like that is they can kind of get a little crazy with cuts and that. He’s kind of refined it and made it more smooth and more trustworthy. It’s paid off for him, he made a few big plays for us the other night.”

This article has 48 Comments

  1. Only hope he throws the ball this week like he did last week . Trent did do a good job in his patterns . Garson ,was dominate Thursday . My worry is that we get into a shootout . Defense is beat up . High scoring game .

  2. While I respect the right to protest and kneel for the anthem. As a retired US Marine I’ll be exercising my right to protest disrespecting the flag by not watching the 49ers or buying or wearing any of their 49er gear until all the players start respecting the flag.

    1. Just read Eric Reid’s strategy for protesting before games. Here’s my strategy: drop all support for NFL and spend my time watching something else. Protest on your own time, not on my hard earned $$$. Want to make a difference NFL players: work to eliminate drugs in Afro-American communities… Work to eliminate single black women from having kids out of wedlock. Work to eliminate guns and gangs in black neighborhoods. Promote education and black small business (legal). Be role models for black kids instead of the profane, drug using, racist black ‘entertainers’ they emulate. Teach black kids to OBEY laws and police. Protest by VOTING

      Now that is something I can support.

      1. “Work to eliminate single black women from having kids out of wedlock.”

        Wow, we have people advocating eugenics. No way a single black woman could support a family right? She has to rely on a man right? The single black woman can’t go to college and have a nice career? Just kill their babies?

          1. Yeah, no sh**. And his solution was to eliminate single black women from having kids out of wedlock. Denying a single black woman her right to reproduce. Not provide alternatives,or acknowledging that a single black woman could provide for herself. Just eliminate.

          2. Duh. And his solution was to eliminate single black women from having kids out of wedlock. Denying a single black woman her right to reproduce. Not acknowledging that a single black woman could provide for herself or perhaps giving her baby up for adoption or using protection. Just eliminate.

        1. What a dolt. Eugenics? Really?
          How about working to get girls having babies they can’t support, who will not father’s to not conceive? Birth control and no incentive from gov for these to keep popping out kids we end up having to raise and who overwhelmingly end up on the public dole, on drugs, or in jail/prison. What’s your solution to this madness by African Americans?

          1. What’s my solution? I can tell you it’s not a ‘final solution’ like yours. I bet you would have supported the government sterilizing black men and women.


            Women of every race get pregnant. Some on purpose, some by accident. But you single out black women.

            This is about conservatives wanting cheap labor. You probably don’t realize this because you are a low level brainwashed voter.

            Conservative leaders are against social programs because they want desperate workers to work for less money. This is why they are against welfare and raising the minimum wage. This is the same reason our jobs are sent to other countries (cheap labor). This is why Trump had his neckties made in China.

      2. Teach black kids to OBEY laws and police.

        That is a talk every parent of an AA child already does in attempt to keep them alive. NYC Mayor DiBlasio did exactly that (he is father of mixed race children) and was promptly slammed by the NYPD Benevolent Society.

        DiBlasio: “With Dante, very early on, we said, ‘Look, if a police officer stops you, do everything he tells you to do. Don’t move suddenly. Don’t reach for your cellphone.’ Because we knew, sadly, there’s a greater chance it might be misinterpreted if it was a young man of color.”

        NYPD: Mayor de Blasio made “moronic” comments Sunday that prove he “doesn’t belong” in New York, a key police union chief said

        1. DeBlasio is a race baiting politician. Anyone who disobeys police, makes ‘threatening’ moves, such as pulling out objects from pockets that could be a weapon, is at risk. I suggest you sign up to be a cop in the inner city and walk/ride a beat before you agree with this scumbag accusing police of treating black suspects different than other races of criminals. How many cops have to get killed before you understand how tenuous life is as a cop when suspects don’t follow police requests and suddenly attack them?

    2. No Jeff, you DON”T respect the right to protest and kneel for the anthem. You only respect YOUR way of respecting the anthem/flag.

  3. Yeah I’m with those posters. I.m Done being a niners fan. I’m done watching NFL games, and done paying for anything that says NFL.

  4. Az 49 ,think it should be for all , not just black , thinking that better education is the answer . To all races , all religion’s . But should not be limited to just black. And no I’m not disagreeing with you ,just not limiting it to one .que pasa

    1. The protest movement is by black people protesting their lot, blaming white people, and protesting something should be done by someone. I was responding to this situation, no intent to believe this is just a African American problem. Just wish all these AA athletes, entertainers, and politicians would focus on root cause of problem: fatherless kids, too many kids with parent(s) who can’t support/raise them, no effort to get educated, gang proliferation, rampant drug use… All of these could be solved by AA themselves IF they wanted too. AA leaders have to work on this, not continuing their racism rants which will not solve anything.

  5. I made a decision after Jed posted his apology on tne scoreboard, then tried to shaft the soccer players, that no more $ would I spend directly on NFL. I will suffer thru commercials on TV, but no hard cash spend. I love my Sunday football, but if it went away there’s plenty of things to do. No big deal.

  6. The narrative being pushed on CNN is that the anthem protests are not protests of the flag and should not be construed as unpatriotic acts. But when a majority of people responding to it in platforms like this, saying they DO perceive it as offensive to their patriotic sensibilities, it seems to me the players would be well advised to listen to their audience.

    If you went to someone’s house and were asked to take your hat off because the residents believe it’s disrespectful, do you maintain your right to wear the hat because of your good intent, or do you consider how the behavior is perceived?

    In addition, choosing to “start a dialogue” with a forced monologue is inherently problematic. When is the 2-way exchange going to take place? When are opposing arguments going to be voiced and considered?
    The audience at an NFL game isn’t choosing to hear a monologue to which they cannot exercise their own freedom of speech to respond in kind. So when the NFL players don’t listen to the voices of their audience through platforms like this and persist in talking AT us, we’ll never have the dialogue and race relations will worsen.

    If you want to be heard, you should also be prepared to listen.

    1. They are not burning the flag. Their protest is to fight injustices, and they are silent, respectful and non violent.
      You are being offended because you want to be offended. Some military veterans are not offended at all, and support the protests. You do not speak for them.
      Kaep started this dialogue, and it has generated lots of discussion. You just are not listening.
      Conversely, by fighting back against the protests, you are protecting rogue cops when they shoot unarmed civilians, both black and white. Rogue cops should not be judge, jury and executioner. Lately, there was a cop who escaped justice even though he threatened to kill some one, then planted a weapon that had only his DNA on it.

      1. Seb, how do you think this approach is working so far? What productive dialogues are taking place online that you can show me links to? Show me an example of one person being persuaded.

        Do you really think that the most productive way of starting this dialogue is by pissing the people off that you want to have a productive conversation with? Or are you yourself naturally confrontational (YES!) and do you like a confrontational approach to problem-solving?

        1. Trump called the players SOBs, and entire teams knelt. Sounds like it is very effective. Kaep knelt, and the media talked about nothing else for an entire week.
          Maybe you do not want players to be uppity, but that is just a dog whistle, and many media has declared that as thinly veiled racism.

          1. Trump is a racist and an anti-semite. I didn’t vote for him and definitely don’t approve of him inciting his base with this rhetoric.

            I’m all for a national dialogue on this issue. I’ve seen the Harvard study and it demonstrates to me that blacks are being treated unfairly by the police.

            However, if people want to engage me in a dialogue, personally, there are better ways to do it than to kneel for the flag, piss on my lawn, scream profanities in public, etc. Begin a mutually respectful dialogue and if you take a risk and it backfires, backtrack and try a more respectful approach.

            In this case, there are so many options. These people have FAME Seb. They have access to the media and they should use it. Some are. Malcolm Jenkins was on TV this morning. Eric Reid has made some fairly persuasive arguments. More of this will accomplish these shared objectives. Getting confrontational will push people away.

  7. When attendance drops , and money goes down , revenue. That is what’s going to affect football.

    Should they protest ,,,,yes ,,, it’s there Right

    Should they protest during the national anthem , I don’t think so.

    They have enough of there own money and time , so let them do it on there own time with there own money . Not on my time ,or my dime .they want to be on the news let them speak on CNN ,or fox or whatever . Have a rally . Not when people are trying to be themselves ,and being forced into having to deal with these issues .

    NFL redone is now free because so many have drop it . Like I said when it starts affecting the money, that’s when there will be a light set on it . We will also find out which ones really value this fight , protest.

    Still don’t think they as protesters should be exercising there right,at that specific time . I hope in my heart that this does not escalate to the point where it hurts someone ,or the game.

    Looks like one or the other is bound to happen . That’s the sad part . That there making it everyone who watches football , participate in it one way or another is the B’? of it ( ie being forced into it) .

    It’s already gone to far , it’s created more tension ,than it’s helping , because of bad timing .

    Just my opinion .

    1. I wish these people whining about quitting the NFL will just go to sleep.

      Please stop watching, that way ticket prices will go down ……..and stop commenting on a sports blog, we really don’t need to know your feelings……

        1. Threatening to boycott football is just another form of blackmail. People who threaten the league should just follow through, and the NFL will get rid of the intolerance and hate.

            1. Victims? They are victims because some one is silently non violently expressing their first amendment rights?
              The real victims are the unarmed civilians, both black and white, who are executed by the rogue cops.
              The judicial system is the victim when no cop has been held accountable.
              Sure, blame the victim. That is what all haters do.

              1. You’re not talking to Trump Seb. I’m for equal treatment, protection, and opportunity for all. I’ll rephrase the question. Can any group (think identity politics–race, religion, sexual orientation, etc) be partly responsible for its own problems?

                On a related point, given America’s recent rejection of identity politics and election of a populist campaigner, choosing a national anthem protest as a strategy for getting Americans to recognize the needs of a racial group was a mistake. It was completely forseeable by anyone who has been paying attention to what is going on that this approach to a dialogue at this time would backfire miserably.

                If you have always held yourself at a cynical distance from any expression of nationalism, consider that most nationalists do support equal treatment, protection, and opportunity for all under the law. And part of what animates them to actually take action is knowing that we all have a common cause.

          1. The intolerance and hate comes from Keapernick and his supporters. None of them can back up their accusations with facts. They don’t even try. They just make wild statements that are factually not true.j

            1. Wrong. There have been multiple shootings of Unarmed civilians, and 99% of the time, there have been no convictions.
              I just googled- mapping police violence, and found that 207 black people have been killed so far in 2017, and 309 died in 2016.
              Kaep is fighting for peace and justice. Intolerance and hate comes from the other side.

              1. You’re wrong again. Justice department statistics show almost no difference between black and white shootings. We should quite arguing over anecdotal information and deal with facts. No problem can be fixed if first you don’t understand exactly what the problem is.

              2. Kaep is fighting against police shooting unarmed civilians, Just because there are many white people being killed does not change the fact that rogue cops are killing at a rate, 3 times more black than whites, according to the statistics.
                He is also decrying the lack of accountability, with 99,9% of police never being held accountable. There was one guy who laid down on his back with his hands in the air, pleading to stop the cops from shooting a scared, innocent boy, and they shot him anyways.

              3. 3 times as many unarmed shootings equates to the more than 3 times the crimes committed by blacks. Obviously they are going to have a lot more contact with police. If he has a problem with the police maybe he should know the facts and not make it a race issue. Many of the blacks that were shot were by black cops also.

                What accountability are you talking about? Have you prejudged them to be quilty? They all went through the criminal justice system and most were not found guilty. Sounds like you might have an agenda. The truth will set you free.

  8. This study is informative:

    We desperately need to have a national dialogue between police chiefs and black politicians/representatives of communities where all the facts about black criminality and police brutality against blacks are presented, counterpoints and explanations are provided, possible solutions are discussed, and this matter gets moved forward honestly and productively. It looks like there’s plenty of blame to go around.

    Right now, the NFL players are short on facts and the police definitely don’t seem to be out defending themselves in public forums, which is highly suspicious. They’re leaving the uninformed public to argue their case, and that isn’t fair to anyone–black or white.

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