Marshawn Lynch sat during the national anthem before his Oakland Raiders played the Arizona Cardinals in NFL preseason action on Saturday.
But whether the running back’s silent protest was a direct response to the disturbing White supremacists’ terror in Charlottesville or him showing support for Colin Kaepernick’s stance currently remains unknown.
“I talked to Marshawn to make sure we’re on the same page and he said, ‘This is something I’ve done for 11 years. It’s not a form of anything other than me being myself,’” Raiders coach Jack Del Rio told the Arizona Republic. “I said, ‘Just so you understand how I feel — I very strongly believe in standing for the national anthem, but I’m going to respect you as a man, you do your thing, OK, and we’ll do ours.’ So, it’s a nonissue for me.”
Here’s the shot of Lynch’s silent protest of the national anthem over the weekend.
While Lynch didn’t make his exact reason for sitting during the national anthem known, he has sat during the anthem for years, as Del Rio alluded to. But judging from his past remarks, it might be safe to say that Lynch sat during the national anthem this time around more as a show of support for Kaepernick than as a reaction to the Charlottesville events.
“I’d rather see him take a knee than stand up, put his hands up and get murdered,” Lynch said during an appearance on Conan O’Brien‘s show, CONAN, last September. “My take on it is, s**t, it got to start somewhere and if that was the starting point, I just hope people open up their eyes and see that it’s really a problem going on and something needs to be done for it to stop. If you really not racist, then you won’t see what [Kaepernick is] doing as a threat to America, but just addressing a problem that we have.”
Lynch wasn’t the only NFL player to sit during the national anthem as a silent protest this past weekend. Lynch’s former Seattle Seahawks teammate, defensive end Michael Bennett, also sat during the anthem before his squad took on the Los Angeles Chargers last night. And he vowed to do so for the entire 2017 season.
But unlike Lynch, Bennett gave a full explanation as to why he didn’t stand for the national anthem.
“First of all I want to make sure people understand I love the military — my father was in the military,” Bennett said, as reported by the Seattle Times. “I love hot dogs like any other American. I love football like any other American. But I don’t love segregation, I don’t love riots, I don’t love oppression. I don’t love gender slander. I just want to see people have the equality that they deserve, and I want to be able to use this platform to continuously push the message and keep finding out how unselfish we can be in society, how we can continuously love one another and understand that people are different.
He added: “And just because people are different doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t like them. Just because they don’t eat what you eat, just because they don’t pray to the same God you pray to doesn’t mean you should hate them. Whether it is Muslim, whether it is Buddhist, whether it is Christianity, I just want people to understand that no matter what, we need to stay together. It’s more about being a human being at this point.”
Given the Charlottesville incident and Kaepernick still being jobless, do you think we’ll see more NFL players silently protest during the national anthem this season?
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(Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)