Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch sits during anthem; coach Jack Del Rio says it's not an issue

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According to Raiders coach Jack Del Rio, Marshawn Lynch didn't tell him he was going to sit during the national anthem

On a day when violence rose during white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville, Va., Marshawn Lynch decided to sit.

Like Colin Kaepernick’s silent protests a year ago during the NFL season, in which he and a handful of other NFL players kneeled or sat during the national anthem to protest racism and police brutality against people of color, Lynch sat on a Gatorade cooler during the singing of the anthem just prior to Saturday night’s preseason game between the Raiders and Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Lynch, the Raiders’ star running back who is back in the league after a one-year retirement from the Seahawks, was the only player to sit. His teammates and coaches, along with those from the Cardinals and a packed house of 61,183, all stood.

Lynch was unavailable for comment following Arizona’s 20-10 win. By the time reporters were allowed into the visiting locker room, Lynch and his personal effects were gone. Lynch was one of several Raiders starters not to play in Saturday’s game.

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Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sits on a cooler on the bench during the national anthem prior to Saturday's game. (Photo: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said he wasn’t aware that Lynch had planned to sit during the anthem and that the two of them discussed the incident after the game.

“I talked to Marshawn to make sure we’re on the same page and he said, ‘This is something I’ve done for 11 years. It’s not a form of anything other than me being myself,’ ” Del Rio said. “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, and we’ll do ours.’

“So it’s a nonissue for me.”

Asked if he thinks Lynch’s decision could become a distraction, Del Rio said, “No.”

Not one for talking to the media about football, Lynch has been an outspoken social advocate. During an interview with Conan O’Brien last year, he discussed Kaepernick’s decision to take a knee when the quarterback was still with the 49ers.

“I’d rather see him take a knee than stand up, put his hands up, and get murdered,” Lynch said.

Raiders second-string quarterback E.J. Manuel, who started Saturday night’s game, said he was unaware that Lynch didn’t stand for the anthem.

“I didn’t know he sat,” Manuel said. “I think that’s a personal thing. Obviously, we all support Marshawn because he’s a part of our team. But I think that is more of a personal thing. I can’t really comment on it too much.”

Manuel did say, however, that the violence that erupted in Charlottesville earlier in the day very likely could be the reason why Lynch chose to sit during the anthem. One person was killed and 19 others were hurt when a speeding car slammed into a crowd of counter-protesters during a “Unite the Right” rally of white nationalists and other right-wing groups.

Manuel, who was born in Virginia Beach, Va., said it was an emotional day for him watching the events play out like they did in Charlottesville.

“That’s where I’m from,” he said. “That was very tough to see. Not to get all into politics, but just the division that we’re seeing in our country is saddening and we’ve got to get it figured out.”

Asked how much time he spent following the protests and counter protests, Manuel said:

“Not a lot because I had a game tonight, so of course I heard about it. I called my parents, got caught up on it a little bit, so I don’t know all the details. But once again, anytime people are getting hurt protesting and things that happen in a negative light, that’s not something new need as a country.”

 

 

Reach McManaman at bob.mcmanaman@arizonarepublic.com. Follow him on Twitter @azbobbymac and listen to him live every Wednesday night between 7-9 on Fox Sports 910-AM on The Freaks with Kenny and Crash.

raiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 2 Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton fires a pass to Andre Ellington during preseason game with the Oakland Raiders at University of Phoenix Stadium, Saturday, August 12, 2017.  Tom Tingle/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 3 Arizona Cardinals linebacker Kareem Martin tries to get around Oakland Raiders tackle Vadal Alexander during the second quarter of a preseason game with the Raiders at University of Phoenix Stadium, Saturday, August 12, 2017.  Tom Tingle/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 4 Arizona Cardinals fans celebrate in the 2nd quarter of their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 5 Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton (5)scrambles out of trouble in the 2nd quarter of their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sporraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 6 Oakland Raiders safety Shalom Luani (26) nearly picks off a pass in the 2nd quarter of their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 7 Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche (90) and Josh Bynes (45) stop Oakland Raiders running back DeAndre Washington (33) in the backfield in the 2nd quarter of their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.  David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 8 Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer barks commands during preseason game with the Oakland Raiders at University of Phoenix Stadium, Saturday, August 12, 2017.  Tom Tingle/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 9 Oakland Raiders middle linebacker Cory James (57) hits Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) as he throws during the first quarter of their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 10 Oakland Raiders middle linebacker Cory James (57) hits Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) as he throws during the first quarter of their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 11 Arizona Cardinals defensive end Josh Mauro (97) and outside linebacker Chandler Jones (55) celebrate a missed field goal during the first quarter of their NFL game against the Oakland Raiders Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 12 The Arizona Cardinals defense celebrate a missed field goal during the first quarter of their NFL game against the Oakland Raiders Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 13 Oakland Raiders middle linebacker Cory James (57) hits Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) as he throws during the first quarter of their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 14 Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) during the first quarter of their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 15 Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws under pressure from Oakland Raiders defensive end Denico Autry (96) during the first quarter of their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 16 Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Brittan Golden (10) catches a touchdown between Oakland Raiders free safety Reggie Nelson (27) and cornerback David Amerson (29) during the first quarter of their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 17 Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Brittan Golden (10) celebrates his touchdown between Oakland Raiders free safety Reggie Nelson (27) and cornerback David Amerson (29) during the first quarter of their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 18 Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Brittan Golden (10) celebrates his touchdown between Oakland Raiders free safety Reggie Nelson (27) and cornerback David Amerson (29) during the first quarter of their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 19 Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer and head coach Bruce Arians mull the situation during preseason game with the Oakland Raiders at University of Phoenix Stadium, Saturday, August 12, 2017.  Tom Tingle/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 20 Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer fires a pass during preseason game with the Oakland Raiders at University of Phoenix Stadium, Saturday, August 12, 2017.  Tom Tingle/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 21 Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer fires a pass during preseason game with the Oakland Raiders at University of Phoenix Stadium, Saturday, August 12, 2017.  Tom Tingle/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 22 Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington runs for tough yardage during the first quarter in a preseason game with the Oakland Raiders at University of Phoenix Stadium, Saturday, August 12, 2017.  Tom Tingle/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 23 Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson is grabbed on the facemask by Oakland Raiders linebacker Cory James as cornerback David Amerson, right, pursues, during first quarter action at University of Phoenix Stadium, Saturday, August 12, 2017.  Tom Tingle/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 24 Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians and Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio greet prior to their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 25 Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians and Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio greet prior to their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 26 Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) prior to their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 27 Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) prior to their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 28 Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) prior to their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsraiders-rb-marshawn-lynch-sits-during-anthem;-coach-jack-del-rio-says-its-not-an-issue photo 29 Arizona Cardinals center A.Q. Shipley (53) and quarterback Carson Palmer (3) prior to their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.  David Kadlubowski/azcentral sports

 

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