Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat during the national anthem of Saturday’s preseason game. Not surprisingly, that brought national media attention and gave the Raiders and their fans a bit of a taste of what it’s like to be involved in the Colin Kaepernick drama that has dominated the NFL news-scape for a while now.
The other week, I did a poll on the Black Hole Banter Twitter handle asking whether Raiders fans would want to sign Colin Kaepernick if the backup QB situation was bad. (This was just a theoretical exercise, I am not suggesting the Raiders need to bring another QB in).
The vote was very close with those wanting to sign Kaepernick barely edging out those who did not want to sign him. The thing is, that’s a completely different question than whether or not you want to cut Marshawn Lynch because he sat during the anthem.
With Kaepernick, you have legitimate football considerations. He took a major step backwards in quality of play prior to his protest. He is also a guy who does better when he’s able to make use of his legs and the Raiders system isn’t exactly focused on that.
With Marshawn Lynch, the situation is completely different. Lynch is already a Raider and by all appearances from camp, he is looking damn good. If he’s even 80% of his old self, Lynch puts the Raiders offense over the top and makes it one of, if not the best unit in the league.
But none of that really matters to be honest.
Here’s the deal. Al Davis never gave a damn about anything other than whether or not you can play football or whether or not you can help the Raiders win games. From scouting black players before anyone else to having minority coaches before everyone else to hiring a woman to be an executive before everyone else, time and time again, Davis showed what it meant to accept everyone.
When it comes to the Lynch question, I have no hesitancy in saying that there is no way Al Davis would have cut Lynch for his protest.
Whether or not you agree with Marshawn Lynch doesn’t matter. You can disagree with his stance, you can disagree with the way he chose to make a stand. But wanting the team to cut Lynch for showing an opinion different than yours is not the Raider way. Period.
Nothing Lynch has done hurts anyone. Not the team, not his teammates, not his coaches and not the fans. He was 100% entitled to do so and the desire to punish him for expressing that opinion is flat out wrong.
Luckily for us, Jack Del Rio has already put the issue to rest, showing that while he disagrees with Lynch, he also respects him and his right to express himself.
If you can’t or won’t be respectful of Lynch and his expression the way the Raiders head coach has, then you should probably find another team to root for because your way isn’t the Raider way.
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