ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer was critical of Colin Kaepernick on Sunday, saying the 49ers' backup quarterback has put himself above his teammates with his controversial protest of racial inequality in the United States.
"And the big thing that hit me through all of this was this is a backup quarterback whose job is to be quiet and sit in the shadows and get the starter ready to play Week 1," Dilfer said on Sunday NFL Countdown. "Yet, he chose a time when he became the center of attention.
"And it has disrupted that organization. It has caused friction and torn the fabric of the team. Although I respect what he's doing and I respect the passion and burden he has for this issue, a massive issue, I do not respect the fact that he put himself and his stance above the team because he's not the only one who's passionate about big social issues."
Dilfer, who spent the final two years of his 14-year career with the 49ers and is a close friend of 49ers general manager Trent Baalke, lives in the Bay Area. He said he has read at least 30 articles on the subject.
Safety Eric Reid, who joined Kaepernick in taking a knee for the 49ers' exhibition finale, said he believes the issue has brought the 49ers' locker room closer together.
"Since this has started, I've had conversations with him (Kaepernick) on a deeper level than I've ever had," Reid said. "He's told me he's had that same feeling with a number of guys."
Said Kaepernick, "There's been a lot of open conversations, a lot more conversations going on in general. And I think ultimately this team and this locker room have gotten a lot closer because of the gaining of understanding of individuals."
After seeing Dilfer's criticism of Kaepernick, 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold took to Twitter, saying "Trent Dilfer you are an idiot. You really just pissed me off."
Trent Dilfer you are an idiot. You really just pissed me off. - Mad Max (@EliHarold_) September 11, 2016