FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — One thing that will be noticeable when the Jets visit Oakland on Sunday is running back Marshawn Lynch’s protest.
In the season opener, the Raiders running back sat during the national anthem to protest injustice against people of color. Lynch also sat during the national anthem for a preseason game.
Jets wide receiver Jermaine Kearse played with Lynch for four seasons in Seattle and said he respects what his former teammate is doing.
“He speaks up on it,” Kearse told Newsday after Friday’s practice. “But also, I don’t even think people noticed he did it sometimes in Seattle with [Colin Kaepernick] doing it. With the attention that it brings, [Lynch] stands for what he believes in, and you have to respect that. It’s an individual thing and everybody has their own way of going about it. I absolutely respect it.”
Kearse said he’s not thinking of sitting down during the national anthem but has listened to both sides of the argument.
After Kaepernick began his protest last season, several NFL players joined either by sitting during the national anthem or raising a fist. The Browns locked arms with law enforcement officials during the national anthem before their season opener Sunday. Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett sat during the national anthem as teammate Justin Britt stood next to him with a hand on his shoulder.
Lynch, who rarely speaks with reporters, has told current and former teammates he wants to raise awareness of social injustice.
“Knowing Marshawn, what you see is that’s him,” Kearse said of the Oakland native. “He doesn’t try to fake who he is, he doesn’t try to hide who he is or what he stands for or what he believes in, and that’s something I really admire about him. He’s comfortable with who he is and where he’s from. He represents Oakland to the fullest whether he was in Seattle or whether he was in Buffalo, and I know in our locker room in Seattle, he was a very liked guy. We all stand behind him.”