Another NFL player has joined the ranks of those who refuse to stand for the National Anthem. Even with Colin Kaepernick out of football (for now), there are players who continue to refuse to honor America during the pre-game tradition.
What is surprising about this latest addition is who the player is.
During last night’s game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Oakland Raiders, five-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion Marshawn Lynch sat during the National Anthem. This was Lynch’s first game back in uniform after retiring in 2015, and in recent years, has voiced his support of Kaepernick’s sideline protest. Although Lynch suited up, he did not play. Lynch, the former Seattle Seahawk, came out of retirement in the spring and was traded to Oakland.
Marshawn Lynch held a banana as he sat, in response to reports that Adam Jones, a black baseball player for the Baltimore Orioles, had a banana thrown at him during a baseball game. Lynch, who earned the nickname “Beast Mode” during his playing days with the Seattle Seahawks, told reporters he has always refused to stand for the anthem. However, no one can find evidence that this is the case. In fact, reporters can only find pictures and video that Lynch has always stood during the anthem, including at the Super Bowl.
Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said he spoke with Lynch after the game and was not aware that he planned to sit.
“[Lynch] said, ‘This is something I’ve done for 11 years. It’s not a form of anything other than me being myself,'” Del Rio said. “I said, ‘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, and we’ll do ours.’ So that’s a non-issue for me.”
Photos circulated on social media Sunday showing Lynch standing for the anthem during his Seahawks days, including for Super Bowl LXIX.
Raiders quarterback E.J. Manuel said the team supports Lynch, adding the decision was “more of a personal thing” for him.
Lynch was not in the NFL during Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protest against racism and police brutality last season but has previously expressed his opinion on Kaepernick’s actions, commending the quarterback for addressing the problem.
Kaepernick remains an unsigned free agent.
The Raiders lost the game, 20-10.