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Derek Carr says he placed his hand on Khalil Mack during the national anthem to 'unify people'

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NFL: International Series-Houston Texans at Oakland Raiders Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Before the Raiders’ preseason game against the Rams, quarterback Derek Carr was seen placing his hand on defensive end Khalil Mack during the national anthem. It’s the third instance of a white player standing in solidarity with a black teammate, with Chris Long and Justin Britt being the other two, although Carr and Mack weren’t protesting.

Marshawn Lynch continued to sit during the anthem, Rams linebacker Robert Quinn reportedly stood with a raised fist as a continuation of his protest, and Raiders safety Shalom Luani was seen kneeling during the anthem, but told reporters he was praying, not protesting.

After the game, Carr was asked why he put his hand on Mack during the national anthem:

“Obviously, we're not protesting. You know, we're not doing anything like that. What we wanted to do is show all the kids that look up to me, look up to him, that white kids, black 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. So, 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, ‘Well obviously, this is 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, is 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 that it's OK for a white kid and a black kid that come from two different neighborhoods to grow up and love one another and be best friends.”

Mack was also asked about their moment during the national anthem (via ESPN):

Reporter: “Did you know Derek was gonna come up and put his hand on you during the anthem?”

Mack: “Yeah, it was something we were talking about. Yeah, just kinda just showing a little unity, using our platform to show unity.”

Reporter: “About?”

Mack: “Different races can get along, you know what I'm saying? White, black, whatever you are ... we can get along and be friends and do all those different things, and just show unity. Show togetherness.”

Carr and Mack touching on that sentiment is much appreciated, especially with everything that’s happened in the last week, and everything that will follow, in the wake of Charlottesville.