Marshawn Lynch Sits, Derek Carr and Khalil Mack Unite During National Anthem

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2017

Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack (52) and quarterback Derek Carr (4) before an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts in Oakland, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Marshawn Lynch sat during the national anthem for the second straight preseason game Saturday, while Derek Carr joined a growing list of white NFL players to offer support to African-American teammates by putting his hand on Khalil Mack's shoulder during the Star-Spangled Banner, per Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com.

After the game, Carr spoke about the gesture: 

"What we wanted to do was show all the kids that look up to me, look up to him, that white kids, blue kids, brown kids, blue, green, doesn't matter, can all be loving to each other. And that's what me and Khalil are—we're best friends and we love one another.

"The only reason we did that is to unify people, and to unify the people that look up to us because, obviously, we see what's going on in the world and, obviously, everyone pays attention to the national anthem nowadays, and so we just said this was the best time to do it while still honoring our country. Because I love this country, more than anything. We're free to live here and play this game, but we're also free to show each other that we love one another. And I think that that's the message, and that's the only message we were trying to get out."

Mack also reiterated a message of unity.

"To show [that] different races can get along, white, black, whatever you are, get along and be friends and...just show unity," he said. "Show togetherness. It's discussed a lot. It's one of the things I feel passionately about, but I just don't like the attention, the attention that comes with it. But at the same time, just using my platform for positivity is what's important for me."

Lynch, meanwhile, declined to speak about his decision to take a knee during the anthem. He was also evasive during the week when asked about the topic. The reporter who asked him about his decision to sit during the Star-Spangled Banner called it the "elephant in the room," leading to a colorful and cryptic response from Lynch.

"I think that elephant just left the room because a little mouse ran in here," he answered, per Chuck Schilken of the Los Angeles Times. "Didn't they say elephants are scared of mouses or something?"

On Thursday evening, Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long put his hand on safety Malcolm Jenkins' shoulder as Jenkins raised his right fist during the national anthem: 

The next evening, Seattle Seahawks center Justin Britt put his hand on defensive end Michael Bennett's shoulder: 

That came just days after Bennett said on ESPN's SC6 that the conversation surrounding anthem protests would change if a white player were to join in or show solidarity:

"It would take a white player to really get things changed, because when somebody from the other side understands and they step up and they speak up about it...it would change the whole conversation. Because when you bring somebody who doesn't have to be a part of [the] conversation making himself vulnerable in front of it, I think when that happens, things will really take a jump."

This dates back to last season, when Colin Kaepernick made national headlines for kneeling during the anthem in protest of police brutality and minority discrimination. Other African-American NFL and college players joined in, leading to further debate.

Kaepernick remains unsigned.

Many suspect he remains without a team due to the political stance he took and not because of the quality of his play, though NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has refuted that claim.