NFL kneeling protest not a gesture against anthem, says Christian player

The controversial kneeling protest started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is not a gesture against the national anthem, the American flag or police, but it is about becoming a "voice for the voiceless," a Christian NFL player explained.

(REUTERS / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)Sep 12, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) and free safety Eric Reid (35) kneel during the playing of the national anthem before a NFL game against the Los Angeles Rams at Levi's Stadium.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Oct. 29, San Francisco 49ers free safety Eric Reid said Kaepernick's kneeling movement was being misconstrued as a protest against the national anthem. He explained that he had joined the controversial protest because of his Christian faith which teaches him to love others as he loves himself, ABC News relayed.

"It's the foundation of why we started doing this," Reid explained to the AP. "We all have a love for people. The Bible tells us love your brother as yourself so that's why we're doing it."

He added: "We have to speak up for those who can't do it for themselves. My faith is ultimately what led me to start protesting and it's what continues to drive me. Faith without works is dead. I feel like the past year before we started protesting, the Lord has prepped me for this moment."

At first, Kaepernick sat down during the singing of the national anthem. However, after talking to Seahawks long snapper Nate Boyer, they decided to kneel instead as it appeared to be a more "respectful gesture."

In light of the criticisms being thrown against the kneeling movement, Reid expressed his frustrations at Christians who slammed them for what they were doing. He pointed out that Jesus had overturned the tables inside the temple when he saw that the place had been turned into a marketplace. He added that he thinks Christ would have also chosen to speak up for the victims of social injustice, especially those who cannot stand up for themselves.

Meanwhile, three Miami Dolphins players continued to kneel during the national anthem in a recent game at Carolina. Kenny Stills, Julius Thomas and Michael Thomas took a knee before the game in the second consecutive week after coach Adam Gase retracted his policy that required players to get off the field if they do not stand during the anthem, Palm Beach Post reported.

Julius Thomas joined the kneeling movement in September after U.S. President Donald Trump criticized the gesture. Meanwhile, Stills and Michael Thomas have been taking part in it since the start of last season.