It went virtually without notice initially, but during the National Anthem prior to Raiders preseason game in Arizona Saturday night, Marshawn Lynch sat it out.
In the shot taken by a USA Today photographer, Lynch sat on a cooler for his quiet protest. Lynch’s has come out in support of Colin Kaepernick’s protest in the past and as I understand his reasoning is similar — that of racial oppression and all that comes with that.
Kaepernick was the first of many NFL players to sit or kneel during the playing of the National Anthem and therefore catches the brunt of the criticism for it. The headlines surrounding Kaepernick have continued this offseason as the former Super Bowl QB remains unsigned while NFL teams have seemingly blackballed him from the league.
Last week Derek Carr voiced his support for Kaepernick, saying he was surprised the 29-year-old hadn’t been signed.
Lynch doesn’t speak with the media much, but his head coach, Jack Del Rio, spoke to him after the game and relayed the message.
“I talked to Marshawn to make sure we were on the same page,” said Del Rio. “He said ‘This is something I’ve done for 11 years, it’s not a form of anything other than me being myself’. I said ‘So you understand how I feel, I very strongly believe in standing for the National Anthem, but I’m gonna respect you as a man. You do your thing and we’ll do ours’. So that’s a non-issue for me.”
The 10-year veteran suited up with his teammates, but, like most of the Raiders’ starters, didn’t play in the game. We’ll see next week in Oakland if this is a one-time thing for Lynch or if it is ongoing.