On the tail of Saturday’s tragic events in Charlottesville, Marshawn Lynch seemed to provide the country and the NFL with a surprise that commented on the days event. Lynch, who cut his retirement short to return to play for the Oakland Raiders, was photographed ahead of their preseason game on Saturday sitting during the national anthem. The act has garnered a lot of attention in the past year thanks to the protest of Colin Kaepernick and the response from fans, the league, and his fellow players. Many joined in with Kaepernick during the season, leading to reports that it affected NFL ratings, but it has since become another hot topic in the offseason as the former 49ers quarterback has struggled to find a new home in the league.
Lynch hasn’t provided any formal comment to the media about his decision to sit — and it’s doubtful he will given his past media interviews — but Raiders coach Jack Del Rio provided his reaction to the San Francisco Chronicle, noting that he was surprised and spoke with Lynch following the game:
“He said, ‘This is something I have done for 11 years. It’s not a form of anything other than me being myself,’” Del Rio said. “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.”
So while it seems this wasn’t new for Lynch, it did come on the heels of a contentious moment in the ongoing racial debate in America. It also raises questions about what Lynch would mean about it representing him just “being myself” in relation to the clear stance that Kaepernick took in the 2016-17 season. If he’s been sitting for 11 years, it definitely flew under the media’s radar and would seem that Lynch wasn’t trying to make the same type of statement as Kaepernick, but that also ignores the fact that the 49ers QB was sitting before the media noticed in the teams third preseason game.
It will be interesting to see if more details come out from the typically quiet Lynch or if the spotlight continues to shine on him for an act that he’s reportedly been doing for a decade.
(Via San Francisco Chronicle)