One of the first players to protest the National Anthem has been suspended by the NFL after he ran onto the field during a game on Thursday and shoved a referee.
Marshawn Lynch of the Oakland Raiders joined the National Anthem protests last year, and has continued his practice this season of sitting while it plays. On Thursday, he ran off of the sideline during a game against the Kansas City Chiefs and jumped into a scuffle, after Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was hit late by Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters, who also sits during the National Anthem to protest America.
When official Julian Mapp tried to break him away from the fight, Lynch shoved him, and then grabbed him. Lynch was immediately ejected. There is an unconfirmed report that he led a chant of “F*** the Chiefs” with the crowd afterward.
On Friday, the NFL suspended him for a game. many consider it a light punishment for two major infractions: coming off of the sideline to fight, and shoving a referee.
Lynch nearly cost the Raiders the game, as the play would have put the team in a prime position to score with little time left in the game. His ejection also meant he was unable to be on the field when he was most needed. The Raiders scored anyway with just seconds to spare, to win the game.
“I was disappointed that he ran out because I knew that we had a 15-yard penalty and we were going to be in good shape,” Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio told the press later. “I didn’t get a chance to have a conversation about it. I told him you can’t leave the bench like that. That was about it. Next thing I knew, he was being tossed. Obviously, you can never put your hands on an official and he was DQ’d.”
Here is video of the incident from the NFL.
Here is another video of the incident.
It is unclear of Lynch plans to appeal his suspension, but since it is a single game, it is unlikely.