During the customary rendition of the national anthem before the Oakland Raider’s exhibition opener against the Arizona Cardinals, running back Marshawn Lynch leisurely sat on a cooler. He proceeded to play with his team until their 20 – 10 loss, and quietly left the stadium immediately afterward without so much as a word.
Now, I’m sure you have your opinions about Lynch’s protest and whether or not you support or are offended by it. I have my own thoughts, but that’s neither here nor there. What I do take issue with is Lynch’s complete silence and lack of action since his motto mentions being “‘bout dat action.”
I’m all for persons taking a stand for what they strongly believe in as is outlined and established by our First Amendment Right. As onlookers, we may or may not agree with the message or the way it was presented, we still have the duty to allow others to peaceably voice their grievances and opinions. However, I struggle to find the identifiable message in Lynch’s protest.
When former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem, he boldly told us why and took the backlash that came with it. Through tweets, press conferences and other statements, he did and continues to relay his thoughts to the American public so there could be no confusion as to why he did what he did.
Whether you agree with him or not, you have to admit that it took courage. Furthermore, as the 2017 football season starts without Kaepernick being signed to a team, it’s evident that it was also a risky move that may have cost him his career.
The point is that he said something. Lynch’s lackadaisical objection was followed by hightailing it to locker rooms before any fans or reporters even had the chance to speak with him. Later, when reporters tried to address the “elephant in the room” during a press conference, he gave some analogy about the relationship between mice and elephants without ever addressing the question or taking a stand. I scrolled through his Twitter page all the way to the beginning of the year, and he says nothing that gives anyone a clue about how he allegedly feels — a stark contrast to Kaepernick’s. Meanwhile, protesters and activists are out rallying and marching, literally screaming to have their voices heard.
Lynch, you got our attention, and instead of using your platform to talk about something real, you simply walked away. If you’re going to protest something, have the nerve and zeal to talk about it. Shout it out for the people in the back who didn’t hear it the first time. Otherwise, your act of defiance is just that, and a headlining action that could have made change, does absolutely nothing.