As Marshawn Lynch sat during the national anthem for the second straight preseason game, Derek Carr stood next to Khalil Mack with his arm on Mack’s shoulders.
It was a display of togetherness from the star quarterback.
“We’re not protesting,” Carr said after the game. “We’re not doing anything like that. We wanted to show the kids that look up to me, look up to him, white kids, black kids, brown kids, blue, green, it doesn’t matter. All be loving to each other. We’re best friends and we’re loving to one another.”
Carr continued, “The only reason we did that was to unify the people that look up to us because obviously you see what’s going on in the world. Obviously everyone pays attention to the national anthem nowadays. We just said that obviously this was the best time to do it while still honoring this country because I love this country. We’re free to live here and play this game but we’re also free to show that we love one another. I think that’s the message, the only message we were trying to get out. Any kid, any family, any adult that follows us and looks up to us we knew their eyes would be on us and we wanted to show them for a white kid and black kid that grew up in different neighborhoods can grow up and love one another and be best friends.”
The protests during the national anthem have divided the NFL. Just within the Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio is conflicted. He believes everyone should stand for the anthem, but he is going to allow Lynch to sit.
It is a complex issue, but Carr and Mack are taking the influx of eyeballs on player actions during the anthem as a chance to send a different message. One of unity. And Carr’s display with Mack didn’t take the 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year by surprise.
“Yeah, it was something that was talked about,” Mack said. “It’s kind of just showing a little unity, using our platform to show unity. Different races can get along, you know what I am saying? White, black, whatever you are. Everyone can get along and be friends and do all those different things. It just shows unity and togetherness.”
It was more than just Carr and Mack, as Bruce Irvin raised a fist and Todd Downing, the Raiders offensive coordinator put his hand on Jamize Olawale during the anthem.
Lynch shoved the team into the spotlight during the national anthem of preseason games. And now the Raiders are responding to show solidarity.
Tyler Bischoff hosts Coaches Corner on AM 720 KDWN Monday through Friday at 6:00 pm.