Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat on a cooler next to the bench during the playing of the national anthem in the team’s preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals.
Why Lynch chose to sit hasn’t yet been revealed, but it comes nearly one year after Colin Kaepernick began a protest of the oppression of people of color by sitting and kneeling during the playing of the national anthem during the 2016 season.
Lynch was retired last season, but appeared on Conan and spoke supportively of Kaepernick’s protest.
“I’d rather see him take a knee than stand up, put his hands up, and get murdered,” Lynch said. “So, I mean, my take on it is [expletive]’s got to start somewhere, and if that was the starting point — I just hope people open up their eyes to see there’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’re going to see what he’s done, what he’s doing, [not] as a threat to America, but just addressing a problem that we have.”
After deciding to return to football during the offseason, Lynch was traded to the Oakland Raiders for a swap of late-round selections between the Raiders and Seattle Seahawks.
Jack Del Rio told reporters after the preseason game that he didn’t know Lynch was planning on sitting. The coach said he spoke to Lynch and was told this is nothing new for the running back.
Jack Del Rio said he talked to Marshawn who said it's something he's done for 11 years. Del Rio said it's non issue. #Raiders
— Levi Damien (@LeviDamien) August 13, 2017
Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers after the season, but hasn’t yet been signed by another team. During the first week of preseason, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins continued his protest by holding his right fist in the air during the national anthem.