MEXICO CITY – The President of the United States has taken several shots at players who choose to sit during the national anthem.
Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch was in his crosshairs early Monday morning.
Trump was bothered by Lynch’s actions before Sunday’s 33-8 loss to the New England Patriots at Estadio Azteca.
Lynch sat for the United States’ national anthem, as he has in every game this season. Then he stood for Mexico’s anthem, though he spent most of that song getting his equipment adjusted.
The President took exception in a Twitter rant that has become a staple of his presidency.
Marshawn Lynch of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders stands for the Mexican Anthem and sits down to boos for our National Anthem. Great disrespect! Next time NFL should suspend him for remainder of season. Attendance and ratings way down.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2017
It is believed that Lynch is sitting in protest of racial inequality, a movement popularized by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, though he has never declared that publicly. He refused to answer questions on that topic this summer.
As a point of clarification, Lynch was not booed. Anthems for both countries were cheered at NFL's annual contest held in Mexico City, with large flags for both countries displayed on the field.
He wore a black t-shirt that read "Everybody vs. Trump" heading into a Week 4 matchup at Denver, a week after the President took on the NFL's anthem protests at a rally in Alabama.
"Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!” Trump said on Sept. 22. "You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, “That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.” And that owner, they don’t know it. 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."
Trump has blasted the NFL several times since on social media, and Lynch is his latest target. This time, Trump demanded Lynch be suspended the rest of the season should he sit again. The league won’t do that.
Trump won’t get his way, but with a quick tweet he brought the issue to the Raiders’ doorstep in what will become a topic in Alameda all week.
Lynch was probably asleep when Trump’s tweet went public at 5:25 a.m. ET, but still hasn't responded in any way.
Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio was asked about Trump's tweet regarding his running back, and never addressed it directly. He reiterated his anthem preferences instead.
"My stance on the whole thing with Marshawn and all of our players, I’ve told them how I feel," Del Rio said. "I love this country. I think it’s a great honor to be able to play football, coach football for a living. My thought is that everybody should pay respect to the flag and stand at attention. That’s how I feel about it. But it is America, and everybody can make their choice, and I’ve made that clear, too."
Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf tweeted support for Lynch, easily Oakland's most popular resident. Lynch consistently performs charitable works in his hometown, and champions Oakland at every turn.