The Oakland Raiders kicked off their first game of the preseason Saturday night, but the headlines from the night reflected Marshawn Lynch instead.
Lynch, who is no stranger to making headlines, remained seated on the sidelines for the playing of the national anthem before the Raiders took on the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale.
The move came as a surprise to head coach Jack Del Rio, who expressed his firm belief that players should stand during the national anthem last season when Colin Kaepernick kneeled in protest. The two discussed Lynch’s activity however and came to a mutual agreement.
“I talked to Marshawn to make sure we’re on the same page,” Del Rio said. “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 will respect you as a man. You do your thing.’ So it’s a non-issue for me.”
Lynch didn’t immediately clarify why he sits for the anthem, but had previously expressed support for Kaepernick last season. The incident came on the heels of protests in Charlottesville, Va.