Marshawn Lynch

Lynch sits, others kneel, raise fist during national anthem

lynch-anthem.jpg
AP

Lynch sits, others kneel, raise fist during national anthem

OAKLAND -- Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat down during the national anthem prior to Saturday's preseason game versus the Los Angeles Rams, as he did the week before at Arizona. 

Lynch hasn't addressed his reason for sitting during the national anthem, an action several others have used to protest racial issues and the mistreatment of minorities in this country. He has sat intermitently during his career, while standing at attention and remaining in the locker room at others. 

Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick popularized the movement last year by kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner. Lynch was retired in 2016, but voiced support for Kaepernick in an interview with Conan O'Briend. 

Lynch wasn't the only Raider making a gesture during the anthem. Rookie safety Shalom Luani kneeled during part of the song. Quarterback Derek Carr placed his hand on Khalil Mack's shoulder during the song. Bruce Irvin had his fist in the air. 

Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett has been vocal about his protest while sitting through the anthem twice in as many preseason games. 

After speaking with Marshawn Lynch, two things are crystal clear

After speaking with Marshawn Lynch, two things are crystal clear

NAPA – Marshawn Lynch spoke with the media Thursday for the second time as a Raider. He was quick-witted, disarming and, as always, not suitable for work.

It was five minutes of peak Marshawn, where he brought light to his charitable endeavors, called himself the “daddy” of his position group and cleverly sidestepped all things nation anthem.

He was asked four questions on other topics before elephant in the room was mentioned. It didn’t stick around long.

“I think the elephant left the room because a little mouse ran in here,” Lynch deadpanned. “Didn’t they say elephants are scared of mice or something? That [expletive] left the room, cousin.”

[RATTO: Lynch reminds media how much control he exerts over any interaction]

Two more related questions came down the pike. The first was about Del Rio letting players be themselves. He answered a different question instead.

“Yeah, because on ‘doctor-24,’ it’s a designed way that you’re supposed to run it but I have all freedom to go any way that I choose to run it,” Lynch said. “I would say, yes.”

The final anthem-esque query was deflected in a similar fashion.

“When we run ‘74’ or something like that, where I have to scan and read on both sides, that is pretty difficult. For the most part, I’m a veteran so I can make it work.”

Two things were crystal clear after speaking with Lynch.

He didn’t miss football one bit during his year in retirement. Lynch said this spring he decided to return after the Raiders were approved to relocate away from his native Oakland. He wants to represent his hometown well and give them something to cheer before the team leaves for Las Vegas.

That’s why he’s fired up even for Saturday’s exhibition against the Rams – he’s expected to make a cameo in that game – his first in Oakland wearing silver and black.

“It’s truly a blessing and just to have the opportunity to go and do that is a good [expletive] feeling,” Lynch said. “It’s a good [expletive] feeling.”

Lynch has always been active in the community, and hopes him playing here will bring more visibility to what’s being done to help kids in Oakland.

“I plan on continuing to do what I do in the community,” Lynch said. “It’ll probably be that now that I’m here, more people that are in the community might actually come out and support what it is that we’ve got going on.”

Lynch reminds media how much control he exerts over any interaction

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Lynch reminds media how much control he exerts over any interaction

Marshawn Lynch gave America five minutes and thirty-three seconds of his time, did not amplify on his posture during the pregame of Friday night’s game in Arizona, and dropped a “Peace, out.”

Now how much Marshawn Lynch can you get?

He talked, thereby satisfying people. He didn’t not talk about the National Anthem, the country, current events or anything remotely close to any of it, this disappointing those same people. He crossed the myth about elephants and mice with the popular Oedipal reference to make a new Marshawn Moment, which ranks up there with the tennis shoe hanging from the telephone wire retirement announcement.

And yeah, that is so much Marshawn Lynch, too.

Lynch, ultimately, interacts with the amalgamated media rabble (my ID number is #287,449/A) by reminding it how much control he exerts over any such interaction, and by giving it only his presence rather than his attention. He is phenomenally predictable that way, and it is to our shame that we keep thinking he will break the pattern out of some misplaced sense of obligation.

He is, in his own way, a recluse in full view. He insists on being the master of his surroundings in a business with many assumed masters – coaches, front office people, fans, marketers, media, even the oft-repeated myths of the game like one’s responsibilities to the greater amorphous whole. I even suspect he has the power of invisibility, like Doctor Fate, Martian Manhunter or The Watcher.

In which case he should gain about 7,500 yards and score 130 touchdowns and be able to sit whenever he wants for more reasons than his own. After all, America tends to bend its willingness to accept eccentricities like his when he is helping their team entertain them successfully.

After all, we know what our true cultural priorities are.