Oakland Raiders star Marshawn Lynch is borrowing a page from Colin Kaepernick’s playbook.
The running back was caught on camera by an Associated Press photographer as he sat during the National Anthem before Saturday’s preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals.
The silent protest took place at the same time as violence was unfolding in Charlottesville, Va., between white supremacists and counter protesters, culminating the death of a woman when an alt-right supporter plowed through a crowd with his car.
It also is reminiscent of the stand, so to speak, that Kaepernick took by kneeling down during the Star Spangled Banner before San Francisco 49ers game last season to protest police brutality incidents on black men. The quarterback’s politics continue to be unpopular among many football fans, and may have cost him his NFL career, as he remains a free agent with few prospects.
Spike Lee is leading a boycott protest for Kaepernick’s supporters outside NFL headquarters on Aug. 23.
Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio is trying to sack any new controversy over Lynch’s action, according to Bay Area News Group beat writer Jimmy Durkin.
Del Rio told the reporter that he spoke to Marshawn to make sure they were on the same page. “He said, ‘This is something I’ve done for 11 years. It’s not a form of anything other than me being myself,’” explained Del Rio. “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, who won a Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks, joined his hometown Raiders after a one year retirement.