On Aug. 12, Marshawn Lynch took a seat during the national anthem before his first preseason game with the Raiders. More than a month later, on Sept. 22, Donald Trump criticized players who have protested racial injustice by not standing for the anthem. On Sunday, Lynch responded.
Beast Mode arrived at the Raiders' game against the Broncos wearing an "Everybody vs. Trump" shirt.
Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch wearing an "Everybody vs Trump" T-shirt: pic.twitter.com/7aiCUbjLUD— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 1, 2017
Then, before kickoff, Lynch continued to sit during the anthem. That wasn't the unexpected part. The unexpected part was the group of Raiders staffers who appeared to try to hide Lynch by surrounding him.
Raiders and Broncos sidelines during the national anthem pic.twitter.com/Gon8DUDXpG— SB Nation (@SBNation) October 1, 2017
And that made it difficult for photographers to get a shot of Lynch.
Small hoard of Raiders staffers are standing around Marshawn Lynch during national anthem. No photo opps. He's only Raiders player sitting.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) October 1, 2017
As of 5:45 p.m. ET on Sunday, Trump has not responded to Lynch's shirt. At this point, it'd come as a huge surprise if Trump didn't have anything to say considering how often he's been tweeting about the NFL and the league-wide unity demonstrations in the wake of his comments
On Sept. 22, Trump said that players who protest racial inequality by refusing to stand for the anthem should be fired.
"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a b---- off the field right now," Trump said. "Out. He's fired. He's fired."
"You know, some owner is going to do that, he's going to say, 'That guy that disrespects our flag, he's fired,'" Trump continued. "And that owner, they don't know it -- they're friends of mine, many of them -- they don't know it, they'll be the most popular person for a week, they'll be the most popular person in this country, because that's a total disrespect of our heritage, that's a total disrespect of everything that we stand for."
During last Sunday's Week 3 slate of games, the response was widespread -- members of the Dolphins wore shirts in support of Colin Kaepernick, some teams didn't even come out for the national anthem, and many teams linked arms during the anthem.
Of course, Trump responded on Twitter, even calling for an NFL to require players to stand for the anthem.
The NFL has all sorts of rules and regulations. The only way out for them is to set a rule that you can't kneel during our National Anthem!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2017
The booing at the NFL football game last night, when the entire Dallas team dropped to its knees, was loudest I have ever heard. Great anger— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2017
Ratings for NFL football are way down except before game starts, when people tune in to see whether or not our country will be disrespected!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2017
With the inclusion of MNF, overnight ratings for Week 3 Sun-Mon NFL games finish up +3% in aggregate.— Michael Mulvihill (@mulvihill79) September 26, 2017
So far on Sunday, three members of the Dolphins kneeled during the national anthem in London, the Ravens kneeled before the anthem and were booed by their fans, and Cam Newton celebrated a touchdown against the Patriots by raising his fist.