“This is something I have done for 11 years. It’s not a form of anything other than me being myself,” Del Rio said. “I told him I very strongly believe in standing for the national anthem. But I respect him as a man and he can do his thing. So, it’s a non-issue for me.”
Pro Football Talk tracked down a video of the national anthem before the November 13, 2011 Ravens-Seahawks game in Seattle, and that video clearly shows Lynch standing for the anthem.
Until Saturday night, there hasn’t been any photos or videos showing Lynch ever sitting during the anthem at any moment since he was drafted back in 2007. It’s possible that Lynch has skipped the anthem in some settings.
The Oakland native is joining the Raiders after coming out of a yearlong retirement and is currently on a two-year, $9 million dollar deal. He’s 31 years old, and has a plethora of highlights to his name, but none are more important than the vast amounts of time and money that he’s given back to his hometown of Oakland.
Meanwhile, Colin Kaepernick continues to be blackballed from the NFL (because he’s been brandished a distraction, not because he’s unqualified)
His anthem protest sparked a national controversy, Lynch was out of the NFL and therefore wasn’t in position to either sit, stand, or lock arms with teammates, as Lynch’s former team did. But when Lynch was asked about it, he gave absolutely no indication that he had ever sat out an anthem himself — even as he said he supported Kaepernick.
Lynch said in September of 2016 on the Conan show on TBS:
With what’s going on, I’d rather see him take a knee than stand up, put his hands up and get murdered, so I mean, my take on it is, [expletive] we’ve got to start somewhere, and if that was the start, I just hope people open up their eyes to see that there’s really a problem going on, and something needs to be done for it to stop. If you’re really not racist then you won’t see what he’s doing as a threat to America.
Without hearing from Lynch, it’s impossible to say for sure what he intended to say by sitting out the anthem, or what he meant when he explained himself to his coach afterward.
Lynch joins an ever-growing list of players that are speaking out against the rise in hatred across the United States by protesting in a visible, peaceful way.
The keyword here is peaceful.