When Colin Kaepernick wasn’t picked to join any of the NFL’s teams this year, many thought the anthem protests would finally end and the league would refocus on football.
But it seems Kaepernick fan Marshawn Lynch, running back for the Oakland Raiders, decided not to stand for the national anthem in last night’s game. According to Lockerdome, James Harrison, linebacker for the Steelers, said this when asked what he thought: “Let me just say, anyone on my team sitting for the Anthem better be in a wheelchair. That’s the only excuse.”
A year ago Kaepernick made national headlines when he refused to stand for the national anthem before a game, according to NFL News. When asked why, he said it was because of the recent deaths of black suspects killed by white police officers.
In a statement to the press, he said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
After the season was over, Kaepernick left the San Francisco 49ers to become a free agent, but failed to be picked up by another team, The Guardian confirmed. With the controversy surrounding the player, viewers boycotting the NFL as a result of the protests, and his average performance, it was little surprise.
Those fans who were hoping the NFL would return to being more about the game again and less about politics were disappointed when Lynch remained sitting during the game as reported by CBS Sports. Lynch refused to comment on it and avoided the press after the game.
His coach, Jack Del Rio, spoke with the player about his decision and related it to the press “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, Ok?’ So that’s a non-issue for me.”
Despite Lynch’s assurance that this was him merely refusing to stand for the anthem 11 years in a row, Lynch was a strong supporter of Kaepernick last year, CBS Sports reported.
In an appearance on the “Conan” show, he said “I’d rather see him take a knee than stand up, put his hands up, and get murdered. So, I mean, my take on it is, s***’s got to start somewhere, and if that was the starting point, I just hope people open their eyes to see that there’s really a problem going on, and something needs to be done for it to stop.”
He went on to claim anyone who took offense to Kaepernick’s protest was simply racist, “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.”
It remains unclear if Lynch was making a statement by refusing to stand or if his words to his coach were true and he simply just stayed sitting because he always does. If the latter is true then it’s disappointing that for 11 years he didn’t stand to show his respect and appreciation for our country simply because he didn’t feel like getting up.
While it is Lynch’s right to remain seated during the anthem, his unpatriotic attitude is unfortunate considering his freedoms and lucrative NFL career were made possible by this country.