Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane sat during the national anthem in Oakland Thursday night before the team's game against the Raiders.
Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane said it wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision to thrust himself into a situation that has drawn national attention all week — and undoubtedly will now put him in a spotlight he hasn’t before felt.
“I thought about it for a week or so and I just think it’s okay for me to do it,’’ said Lane, who sat during the national anthem before the Seahawks’ 23-21 preseason win over the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night.
Lane said he did it mostly to show support for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who sat during the anthem in a game last Friday saying he was protesting the treatment of people of color in the United States, and particularly issues with police.
“I wasn’t trying to say anything, just standing behind Kaepernick,’’ said Lane, who is in his fifth year with the Seahawks after being taken in the 2012 draft.
Lane, who attended Northwestern (La.) State, said he does not know Kaepernick well but that “I just liked what he’s doing and I like standing behind him.’’
Lane said he did not tell teammates or coach Pete Carroll.
“Nah, I didn’t tell anyone was going to do it, I just did it,’’ said Lane, who remained seated through a performance by saxophone player Mike Phillips.
Lane, who signed a four-year, $23 million contract in the offseason to stay with the Seahawks, said he is prepared for whatever backlash comes his way. While a valuable part of Seattle’s secondary, he has started just six games and is hardly as well-known as many of his teammates. Most may know Lane for suffering devastating wrist and knee injuries on the same play in the Super Bowl XLIX loss to New England. He knows a different sort of attention may come his way now.
“I don’t mean no disrespect to anybody,’’ he said. “I’m just standing behind what I believe in.’’
Lane said he intends to continue to sit during the anthem “until I feel like justice is being served.’’
Carroll called Lane’s action “an individual thing,’’ and said he could not answer what he thinks of whether Lane will continue to sit during the anthem — Seattle’s next game is at CenturyLink Field on Sept. 11 against Miami — because he has not been told that’s what Lane plans to do.
“That was an individual thing,’’ Carroll said. “But I am really proud of the progress we are making in the conversation and I look forward to continuing it with our guys. It’s really important for us to understand and to be smart about what we are doing and how we handle our business. And we have, like I have been telling you, we have a great group of guys that lead this team and they are going to help us as we move forward.’’
After the anthem, teammate Richard Sherman sat down and chatted with Lane briefly. While Lane said they did not talk about the anthem, Sherman said he wanted to show support for Lane.
“Yeah I mean everybody is entitled to their opinion,’’ Sherman said. “That’s our country — you are free to say what you want and express yourself in a way that you feel is in line with what you believe, and that’s what he did. He sat down, he wanted to make a point, and I think it was a great point.’’
No other players on either side sat during the anthem.
In response to Kaepernick’s action last week, the NFL released a statement saying, “players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem.”
Sherman said this week that while he thought Kaepernick was making a good point in attempting to draw attention to the issues of discrimination and police brutality against people of color, he “could have picked a better platform.”
Asked then what he would tell any teammate who might be tempted to sit during the anthem, Sherman said: “Just tell him to think about the pros and the cons. Every action has an equal or greater reaction. And there’s going to be criticism. There’s going to be backlash. There’s going to be people behind screens that will judge you, that will criticize you, that will say whatever they want about you, and you’ve got to be willing to deal with that.”
At almost the same time Lane was sitting in Oakland, Kaepernick and teammate Eric Reid were kneeling during the anthem in San Diego.
As detailed by The Associated Press, Kaepernick was accompanied by former Seahawks long snapper Nate Boyer, also a former Green Beret, who was with Seattle during training camp last season.
The AP reported that Boyer, who wrote a conciliatory open letter to Kaepernick earlier this week, had a long conversation with the quarterback about his stance this week. He posted a photo of the two on Twitter with a caption reading: “Let’s just keep moving forward. This is what America should be all about.”