Marshawn Lynch may rarely speak to media — NFL media, at least — but he is a pronounced social advocate. He helps run a foundation, Fam 1st Family, that empowers underprivileged Bay Area youth, and has done hands on philanthropic work in his hometown of Oakland and abroad.
So, it’s not surprising that he was willing to speak up about Colin Kaepernick’s weekly protest of the pregame national anthem. Lynch went on Conan on Tuesday and gave an open and candid response in support of his fellow Bay Area resident and former rival. (Transcript below the video).
I’d rather see him take a knee than stand up, put his hands up, and get murdered. So, I mean, my take on it is [expletive]’s got to start somewhere, and if that was the starting point — I just hope people open up their eyes to see there’s really a problem going on, and something needs to be done for it to stop. And I mean, if you’re really not racist, then you’re going to see what he’s done, what he’s doing, [not] as a threat to America, but just addressing a problem that we have.
Lynch’s comments touch on what is perhaps the dividing line between those who support Kaepernick’s protest and those who don’t. Those who oppose it view it as a critique of the United States and everything in it, instead of a critique of racial injustice, one very significant issue that he believes is systemic within the nation.
Whether someone supports the protests around the NFL, and there have been a lot of them now, it should be apparent now that different people have different visions of America, and that each is valid. In Kaepernick’s eyes, the issue of police brutality against people of color is worth kneeling and being vocal for, and Lynch agrees.