Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat for the playing of the national anthem during Saturday's exhibition game against the Arizona Cardinals in the midst of this weekend's white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville, Va., and resulting protests around the country.
Raiders coach Jack Del Rio told media when he spoke to Lynch after the Raiders game on Sunday to make sure he and his running back were on the same page, he decided Lynch sitting was not an issue for the team.
“(Lynch) said, ‘This is something I've done for 11 years. It's not a form of anything under than me being myself.’ I said, ‘OK.’ 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.’ ”
Lynch, who wore a jersey, but no pads on Sunday, did not play in the Raiders’ 20-10 loss to the Cardinals.
Lynch taking a seat on Sunday resembles last season’s actions of free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick and a handful of other NFL players who sat, kneeled or raised a fist during the playing of the National Anthem to bring awareness to racism and police brutality.
One of those players who has been supportive of national anthem protests and speaking out against injustice is Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett. During Sunday’s exhibition game between the Seahawks and the Los Angeles Chargers, Bennett continued his protest by taking a seat on the Seahawks bench while the National Anthem played.
.@Seahawks Michael Bennett during anthem pic.twitter.com/RVbpZhyaAZ— Dennis Bernstein (@DennisTFP) August 14, 2017
Bennett, who has expressed support of Kaepernick as an individual and the quarterback’s attempt to draw attention to social injustices, plans to sit during the national anthem for the rest season, according to ESPN's Jim Trotter.
After the Seahawks’ 48-17 win, Bennett said the events of the last few months and especially this weekend’s events in Charlottesville, Va. motivated him to use his platform to draw attention to injustice in the United States.
"First of all, I want to make sure people understand, I love the military," Bennett said, according to the Washington Post. "My father was in the military... 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 slandering. I just want to see people have the equality that they deserve. I want to be able to use this platform to continuously push the message of that, keep journeying out and keep finding out how unselfish can we be as a society.
“How can we continuously love one another and understand that people are different? And just because they’re different doesn’t mean you shouldn’t like them. Just because they don’t smell the way you smell, just because they don’t eat what you eat, just because they don’t pray to the same God you pray to, that doesn’t mean you should hate them. Whether it’s Muslim, whether it’s Buddhist, whether it’s Christianity, whatever it is, I just want people to understand that, no matter what, we’re in this thing together. It’s more about being a human being at this point.”
Here’s what fans across the League and Americans had to about Lynch and Bennett sitting during the national anthem this weekend:
Any Seahawks season ticket holder renouncing their support because of Michael Bennett sitting during the anthem, I'll take your Tix. Thx!— Carlos Balderas (@CarlosThe13Man) August 14, 2017
Seeing Nazi flags being carried in the streets should offend you more then seeing NFL players sit down during the national anthem.— pdj (@g_money1236) August 14, 2017
Bennett & Lynch sitting during the anthem. And y'all lucky Kaep was respectable enough to kneel— Wack DJ, Good Father (@DJBLHolla) August 14, 2017
@Kaepernick7 @yourrightscamp @nessnitty ..glad to hear that Michael Bennett won't stand for the anthem for the entire season ✊— Dont Trip (@Dennis__B) August 14, 2017
🅱️🅱️🅱️loods (@TrapGawdd) August 14, 2017
So Marshawn been sitting down for the anthem for 11 years and nobody batted a eye—
Michael Bennett plans to sit during national anthem throughout 2017 season so I'll save money and boycott @Seahawks games this season.— ⚓Kevin Booker ⚓ (@KevinBooker206) August 14, 2017
I just have trouble seeing why someone must sit during the anthem to preach about injustice. Bennett gets interviewed post game either way— Conner Forrester (@connerforrester) August 14, 2017
🤔— Demetrius E. Harris (@AuthorDemetrius) August 13, 2017
Good job Marshawn. Why stand for an anthem that was written by a slave owner and the freedom wasn't intended for u?
🦁⚡️ (@lightnbolt619) August 14, 2017
You guys are missing the boat here. Marshawn Lynch is not going to be the only player sitting during the anthem. @Judson1360 @hardwina— LightningBolt619
Michael Bennett plans to sit all year during the national anthem. Completely his right. But he won't be cut. #SignKaepernick— Adam Klug (@Adam_Klug) August 14, 2017
Marshawn lynch sat eating a banana during national anthem. Fans pay his salary of 11.6million. He is a disgrace to our country. Shame— Tstrz (@tstrz_tstrz) August 14, 2017
I feel Michael Bennett is as principled for expressing his beliefs as are most of of us who stand during the playing of anthem. https://t.co/kaoADyDxgm— House Divided (@Wasup4yall) August 14, 2017
I support Michael Bennett, Marshawn Lynch, and Colin Kaepernick sitting during the national anthem. #Undisputed #FS1— Cameron Byrd (@ByrdMan1328) August 14, 2017
What if Marshawn lynch came out of retirement just to protest the national anthem lmao *brain explodes*— Josh G (@_TheRealJoshG) August 14, 2017
So, sitting during national anthem while *not being quite as good as Marshawn Lynch* actually *is* enough to get you blackballed?— John Kenney (@johnlkenney) August 14, 2017
Marshawn Lynch has been sitting during the anthem for 11 years. This is a non-story. Don't make it into one.— Sean (@selloutfunerals) August 14, 2017
The national anthem is not for the black community!! Period. Good for Marshawn Lynch for continuing to show his back bone, stay woke.— Eric T. May (@EricTMay2) August 13, 2017
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