Marshawn Lynch, the former Seahawks running back who came out of retirement to sign with Oakland, sat during the national anthem before the Raiders’ exhibition opener against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday night.
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Marshawn Lynch made the biggest news of what otherwise was a routine preseason N.F.L. game by sitting during the national anthem before the Oakland Raiders’ 20-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday night.
Lynch, the ex-Seattle running back who came out of retirement this year to sign with his hometown Raiders, sat on an orange cooler with his arms resting on his knees, while others around him stood.
Although he rarely talks to the news media, Lynch has voiced support for quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the anthem last season to protest what he saw as a pattern of police mistreatment of minorities.
Lynch did not play in Saturday’s game, and he had left the locker room by the time reporters arrived.
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Coach Jack Del Rio said he had spoken to Lynch about the issue after the game.
“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.
The coach said that he told Lynch: “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.”
It was unclear whether Del Rio meant that Lynch, who was drafted out of Cal by the Buffalo Bills in 2007, said he had sat out the anthem for every game over 11 years. He played only nine seasons in the N.F.L. before coming out of retirement this year. NBC’s Pro Football Talk reported that it had found an image of Lynch standing during the anthem before a 2011 game with Seattle.