GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — In his first game in an Oakland Raider uniform, Marshawn Lynch didn’t play a down.
Yet he provided the most vivid image of the night, sitting for the national anthem before the Raiders’ 20-10 preseason loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday.
The ex-Seattle running back, who came out of retirement to sign with his hometown Raiders, sat on an orange cooler with his arms resting on his knees, while others around him stood.
Although he rarely talks to the media, Lynch has voiced support for quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the anthem last season to protest what he saw as a pattern of police mistreatment of people of color.
Lynch was gone from the locker room by the time reporters arrived.
Coach Jack Del Rio said he spoke to him about the issue after the game.
“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.
The coach said that he told Lynch “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.”
“So that’s a non-issue for me,” Del Rio said.
Quarterback E.J. Manuel said he didn’t know Lynch hadn’t stood for the anthem.
“Obviously, we all support Marshawn because he’s part of our team, but I think that is more of a personal thing,” Manuel said. “I can’t really comment on it too much.”
Lynch gained support from fans online, many of whom may have been unaware that he hasn’t stood for the anthem for over a decade.
the national football league doesn’t deserve Marshawn Lynch pic.twitter.com/YYA8sR148u
— Ashley Holcomb (@ashleyxholcomb) August 13, 2017
Guess what America? Marshawn Lynch doesn't give a f*ck what you think! pic.twitter.com/Zc53Mw5x14
— Derenic Byrd (@DerenicByrd) August 13, 2017