LANDOVER, Md. – Most Raiders took a seat during the national anthem, locked arm in arm across the bench. Others stood and linked arms, without a smile among them.
The Silver and Black sat in protest of comments made by president Donald Trump on Friday night in Huntsville, Ala., when he denounced the anthem movement popularized by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Quarterback Derek Carr was among the few Raiders not protesting the anthem. Owner Mark Davis stood for the anthem in a luxury box, with his hand over his heart.
Davis prefers his players stand for the national anthem, but told ESPN on Sunday that his stance has changed.
“I can no longer ask our team to not say something while they are in a Raider uniform,” Davis said. The only thing I can ask them to do is do it with class. Do it with pride. Not only do we have to tell people there is something wrong, we have to come up with answers. That’s the challenge in front of us as Americans and human beings.”
Running back Marshawn Lynch has sat during the national anthem all season, though he hasn’t addressed his decision publicly.
Kaepernick’s movement started early last season, when he was vocal about inequality for minorities in this country, especially in regard to police brutality.
The Raiders have generally avoided anthem protests outside of Lynch, though Derek Carr put an arm on Khalil Mack’s shoulder showed signs of unity during the preseason, but Trump’s comments changed the team’s attitude. He said anthem protesters should be fired, and also took some shots at NBA players, including Steph Curry.
The Raiders weren’t the only team protesting Trump’s comments on Sunday. Several teams didn’t come out for the national anthem, including both sides of the Tennessee-Seattle contest.