Of course, his decision set off a social media storm over the weekend — similar to the heat that Colin Kaepernick continues to feel. As you know, last year, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback sat and kneeled during the national anthem and protested police brutality.
At the time, Lynch backed Kaepernick, telling comedian Conan O’Brien in September 2016:
“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. 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.”
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After the game on Saturday, Oakland coach Jack Del Rio was asked about Lynch’s decision not to stand during the anthem.
Via USA TODAY Sports:
“He 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 in a postgame news conference. “I said, ‘So you understand how I feel, I very strongly believe in standing for the national anthem, but I’m gonna respect you as a man. You do your thing, OK, and we’ll do ours.’ ”
Fans and critics alike are proud that Del Rio opted to “respect” his player’s decision, even though he may not agree with Marshawn’s personal politics.
As this writer for MSN.com notes of Del Rio’s comments: “The flag may represent one thing for Del Rio (patriotism, freedom, the military, etc.) and another for Lynch (systematic racism, police brutality, oppression, etc.). On a dark day in this country’s history, when a white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville turned deadly, the decision to not stand for the anthem is understandable, no matter what lens you view it through.”
Meanwhile, the Raiders lost to the Cardinals 20-10 in their preseason opener. Lynch did not play.