Marshawn Lynch hasn’t played in the NFL since 2015, but throughout the 2016 season he was a vocal supporter of Colin Kaepernick’s protest of police brutality by refusing to stand for pregame renditions of the national anthem, a protest that inspired other players to do the same. Beast Mode got the chance to join the protest on Saturday night before his Oakland Raiders’ preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Instead of kneeling, as Kaepernick has done, Lynch remained seated on the bench.
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“Well I mean with what’s going on, I’d rather see him take a knee than stand up, put his hands up, and get murdered,” Lynch said of Kaepernick on Conan in September. “So my take on it is [expletive] it got to start somewhere and if that was the starting point I just hope people open up their eyes to see that it’s really a problem going on and something needs to be done for it to stop. … And I mean if you’re really not racist, then you won’t see what he’s doing as a threat to America but just addressing a problem that we have.”
Lynch didn’t participate in Saturday’s game, and had left the locker room by the time reporters entered.
“He said, ‘This is something I have done for 11 years. It’s not a form of anything other than me being myself,’” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said of Lynch following their squad’s 20-10 defeat. “I told him I very strongly believe in standing for the national anthem. But I respect him as a man and he can do his thing.
“So, it’s a non-issue for me.”
Quarterback E.J. Manuel, who started in place of two-time All-Pro Derek Carr, called Lynch’s sitting “more of a personal thing.”
Contrary to what he told his coach, Lynch has stood for the national anthem within the last 11 years.