In the vast amount of places you can point your finger as to the Raiders’ losing season, there’s one we haven’t heard in a while. It was Raiders sideline reporter and former tackle Lincoln Kennedy to dust off an oldie but a goody — maybe it was the anthem protests?
“If there was one thing that I think had some underlining effects but I don’t know how — it’s just a feeling, it’s just a gut-wrench feeling — the whole anthem controversy, I think, affected (the team) mentally,” Kennedy said in an interview with Bay Area radio station 95.7 The Game.
“I think it affected people. And in a sense that, not so much that you heard the rumors about, ‘Well, we’re not doing this because he’s not with us. It was an unnecessary distraction that warranted so much coverage and so much questions you couldn’t necessarily focus on football.
“Everybody wanted to know why is Marshawn Lynch sitting down. Everybody wanted to know is he protesting or what is he protesting. Everybody wanted to know how unanimously the team is going to protest — are they gonna stand together.
“Look, if I was in that locker room, I would be the first one to tell them ‘I’m not here to talk about that, I’m here to talk about football — the Kansas City Chiefs, the Denver Broncos, give me a football related question. Don’t ask me about the anthem or social consciousness. And I think that was something that wore, not just on the Raiders, but on a number of teams.”
Hey, if that’s Kennedy’s “gut-wrench” feeling, that’s his feeling. My feeling is two-fold.
First of all, I disagree. I think it affected their game in Washington some, yeah. But mainly because of the confusion pregame. But it didn’t go past that.
My second thought would be if this squad is so fragile that Kennedy thinks a few questions about social consciousness would shake them from a 12-4 playoff team to a losing team, then they are not made of the right stuff to have sustained success anyway. And I suppose if it affected every team in the league, Kennedy must then be suggesting other teams are just better equipped to handle it.