On Saturday night Marshawn Lynch took a seat during the national anthem. That action has caused an incredible stir in the NFL over the past year, as Colin Kaepernick still searches for a job.
But while other teams are foolishly afraid of Kaepernick’s potential distraction, Jack Del Rio says Lynch’s decision to not stand for the anthem won’t be an issue for the Raiders.
“I talked to Marshawn to make sure we were on the same page. 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 gonna respect you as a man. You do your thing and we’ll do ours’. So that’s a non-issue for me,” Del Rio said.
But that is not the opinion Del Rio had last August when he was asked about Kaepernick’s refusal to stand.
“It’s never come to a point where I’ve had to address it; it’s always been understood,” Del Rio said to the Mercury News. “You stand attention. You pay respect to our flag, our country. That’s always been kind of an assumed thing.”
“In America, as individuals, we all have freedoms, and that’s one of the things that makes our country great,” Del Rio said. “For us, I think it’s more about recognizing that you’re part of an organization. You’re representing our organization, and our organization believes that you should pay respect to the flag. Save those individual decisions to express yourself for an individual forum.”
Last season, when it wasn’t his player, Del Rio thought players should protest on their own time. Now that it is his player, the Raiders big offseason acquisition, Del Rio is fine with it.
Del Rio’s change of tune is a good one. Coaches, general managers, owners and fans shouldn’t care if someone stands, kneels or sits during the national anthem.
But the sudden reversal of opinion by Del Rio does beg the question: what if it wasn’t Marshawn Lynch sitting but instead an undrafted rookie just trying to make the team?
Tyler Bischoff hosts Coaches Corner on AM 720 KDWN Monday through Friday at 6:00 pm.