Charlottesville uprising hits close to home for 49ers LB Harold

SANTA CLARA — A year ago, 49ers linebacker Eli Harold decided to ride along and support Colin Kaepernick in his protest aimed at bringing attention to inequality and police brutality toward minorities.

First, Kaepernick protested silently alone. Eric Reid joined Kaepernick in the final week of the exhibition season after Kaepernick was asked to explain his views, creating the initial uproar.

Then, Harold was right there, kneeling with both men during the national anthems for the entire 16-game regular season.

Harold, 23, and Reid will not continue the protest this season on the 49ers sideline without Kaepernick, who is still unsigned after parting ways with the organization in March. Harold remains in contact with Kaepernick. He looks back on 2016 and said he believes the protest was a success because it opened a national dialogue.

“Of course, that’s exactly what the motive was, to get the conversation going and have people talk about an issue that was broad and bigger than ourselves,” Harold told NBC Sports Bay Area on Monday. “We accomplished that.”

Although Harold is now focused on retaining his job with the 49ers as he enters his third NFL season, the societal issues about which he protested last season are never too far out of his mind.

The subject hit especially close to home over the weekend when Harold watched the unrest in Charlottesville, where

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