Marshawn Lynch, a runningback for the Oakland Raiders, sat and ate a banana during the national anthem on Saturday before the Raiders’ first preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, Arizona. Lynch did not play during the game, and the Raiders’ coach said Lynch’s actions were a “non-issue.”
Although Lynch said he has been doing this for 11 years, photos and videos show he stood on many occasions for the national anthem in recent years.
Lynch reportedly was not present in the locker room after the game, according to CBS Sports. However, the Raiders’ coach, Jack Del Rio, said that he spoke to Lynch after the game.
“Talked to Marshawn. Wanted to make sure we’re on the same page,” Del Rio said. “He said, ‘This is something I’ve done for 11 years. It’s not a form of anything other than me being myself.’”
“I said, ‘Just so you understand how I feel, I very strongly believe in standing for the national anthem, but I’m going to respect you as a man. You do your thing, okay? So that’s a non-issue for me,” said the coach.
According to Pro-Football Talk, it appears that Lynch has not been “doing this for 11 years.”
On Sunday, Lynch’s former teammate from the Seahawks, Michael Bennett, remained seated during the national anthem as well.
The Mercury News reported that Lynch commented on Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem on the Conan O’Brien show back in September 2016.
O’Brien asked him, “Colin Kaepernick has — you know, lots of opinions out there about what he is doing, taking a knee during our national anthem. What are your thoughts? I really respect your opinion. What do you think?”
“Well, I mean, you know, 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 in the interview. “I mean, my take on it is (expletive) has 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] won’t see what he’s done, what he’s doing, as a threat to America, but just addressing a problem that we have,” said Lynch.
Lynch attended the University of California and has played for the Buffalo Bills and the Seattle Seahawks. After retiring at the end of the 2015 season, he is back this year with the Oakland Raiders.
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