Star NFL Player Intentionally Sits Down During National Anthem

Colin Kaepernick may not have found a place on an NFL roster yet, and it seems that his demands may keep him off one for the 2017 season. However, the National Football League now has a new national anthem PR disaster on their hands, courtesy of yet another star player.

According to WGBA-TV, Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch decided to sit out “The Star-Spangled Banner” during Saturday night’s preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals in Arizona, becoming the latest high-profile NFL’er to shun the anthem.

The five-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion sat out the 2016 season after unexpectedly retiring from the Seattle Seahawks after the 2015 season — meaning that he missed most of the Kaepernick-inspired epidemic of sitting/kneeling/black-power-saluting that happened last year.

While Lynch has gone on record as being supportive of Kaepernick’s decision to protest the national anthem, NFL Network’s Michael Robinson, who was once a teammate of Lynch’s, said the running back has routinely sat out the national anthem throughout his career and that it had never become a problem before the Kaepernick-led protests.

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio seemed to agree with that assessment of the situation.

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“On Marshawn, talked to Marshawn trying to make sure we’re on the same page,” Del Rio said after his team’s 20-10 loss, according to NFL.com. “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, ‘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. We’ll do ours.’ It’s a non-issue for me.”

“You do your thing, we’ll do ours” isn’t a phrase readily found on those teamwork-themed motivational posters that were plastered all over your high school gym, but that’s the Raiders’ problem.

On the league level, re-igniting the debate over national anthem protests definitely isn’t what the NFL wanted to be dealing with this August. Because fans are already reacting.

Last October, while the NFL’s ratings were falling faster than Anthony Scaramucci’s public profile is these days, Sporting News reported that a Rasmussen poll found “(n)early one-third (32 percent) of adults say they’re less likely to watch NFL game telecasts because of the Kaepernick-led player protests against racial injustice” and that “(o)nly 13 percent said they were more likely to watch an NFL game because of continuing protests by Kaepernick and supporters such as Antonio Cromartie of the Colts.”

My guess is that not enough has changed in the intervening year that military veterans, first responders and other patriotic citizens are going to be particularly impressed with Mr. Lynch’s belief that he doesn’t have to stand stand for the national anthem because it’s nothing “other than me being myself.” (And the way things are going, Cromartie’s beliefs aren’t going to be on television much this season.)

Lynch didn’t give a statement to the media about his reasons for sitting the anthem out. But then, he’s notorious for his reticence to talk to the media — an infamous pre-Super Bowl news conference in 2015 consisted of Lynch, then with the Seahawks, answering each and every question with, “I’m only here so I won’t get fined.”

However, if it has the same impact on his team and the NFL that Kaepernick’s protests did, one imagines that he might be forced out of his quiescence for once.

H/T Breitbart

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