Saturday night was not the first time Marshawn Lynch sat for the national anthem, just the first time it gained widespread attention.
After seeing our post this morning with a picture of Lynch standing for the anthem during the 2011 season, contrary to Raiders coach Jack Del Rio saying Lynch told him he’d sat for the anthem for 11 years, former NFL receiver Andrew Hawkins contacted us on Twitter and pointed out that Lynch did not stand for the anthem multiple times in 2015.
Lynch’s absence from the anthem did not entirely go unnoticed at the time. As pointed out by Hawkins, some fans on social media noted that Lynch wasn’t standing for the anthem. But it apparently didn’t garner any media attention.
That lack of attention stands in stark contrast to the anthem protest begun last year by Colin Kaepernick, who became the subject of a nationwide conversation when he declined to stand for the anthem, and whose actions last year still seem to be affecting his ability to get a job in the NFL this year.
So why was there no firestorm around Lynch? Maybe it’s because Lynch did sometimes stand for the anthem. Maybe it’s because no one in the media even noticed when Lynch was sitting. Maybe it’s because Kaepernick’s anthem protest was accompanied by vocal criticism of the police and the American government, while Lynch has not said anything publicly about why he didn’t stand for the anthem.
Whatever the reasons, Kaepernick was not the first NFL player to sit out the anthem. Lynch did it before him, and few people noticed or cared.