Earlier this week, Colin Kaepernick revealed that he's had several threats made on his life since his decision to protest racial injustice by first sitting, and now kneeling, through the national anthem prior to San Francisco 49ers games.
Soon after, former Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch told Conan O'Brien that those types of reactions to Kaepernick highlight that many people are ignoring the real problem, choosing instead to see Kaepernick's protest as an act of aggression to the armed forces and not as a call to do better on the subject of relations between police and minority communities.
“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. “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."
Then Lynch stated that anyone who has a problem with African-Americans nonviolently protesting discrimination is racist.
"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.”
His comments came less than a day before Lynch's former Seahawks teammate Richard Sherman told reporters something similar: that those criticizing Kaepernick in the name of patriotism are missing the real point of the protests.
"I think the last couple days a couple more guys have gotten shot and killed in the middle of the street," Sherman said, referring to the slayings of Terence Crutcher in Oklahoma and Keith Lamont Scott in North Carolina at the hands of police. "More videos have come out of guys getting killed, and I think people are still missing the point. The reason these guys are kneeling, the reason we’re locking arms is to bring people together to make people aware that this is not right. It’s not right for people to get killed in the street."