Raiders’ running back Marshawn Lynch remained seated during the National Anthem before Saturday night’s exhibition opener against the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, Az.
As the anthem played, Lynch was photographed by the USA Today and Associated Press sitting on an orange cooler while teammates, coaches and support staff stood at attention.
Raiders coach Jack Del Rio addressed the issue with reporters following 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.
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“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, OK? So that’s a non-issue for me.”
Lynch left without talking to the media and hasn’t talked on the record at any point during training camp. His conversation with Del Rio gave no indication that it had anything to do with the white nationalist event in Charlottesville, Va., which resulted in counter-protests with three dead and dozens injured.
During an appearance on the Conan O’Brien show nearly a year ago, Lynch was asked by the host about former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the anthem and gave his support.
“I’d rather see him take a knee than stand up, put his hands up and get murdered,” Lynch said. “I mean, my take on it is (expletive) has got to start somewhere – and if that was the starting point – I just hope people up their eyes to see there’s really a problem going on, and something needs to be done for it to stop.
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“And I mean, if you’re really not a 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.”
The Raiders lost 20-10 to the Cardinals and Lynch did not play.