Marshawn Lynch

Marshawn Lynch's Oakland Panthers cancel opening game amid coronavirus

Marshawn Lynch's Oakland Panthers cancel opening game amid coronavirus

The Oakland Panthers of the Indoor Football League have changed their minds.

A day after stating they would play their inaugural game against the Iowa Barnstormers this weekend, the team, which is co-owned by former Raiders and Cal running back Marshawn Lynch, announced Friday that it has canceled Saturday's game.

"Though we enter an almost unprecedented period of uncertainty in sports history, our team, our community and our fans will come out of it stronger than ever," the team said in a statement. "Oakland is still Oakland. The Bay is still the Bay. The world is dealing with a crisis, and we owe it to our community to take responsible actions. We, as an organization, must take the necessary steps to contribute to the global fight against COVID-19. We know that this postponement is disappointing to many fans, players, coaches, but we will be back as soon as it is responsible. We have been deeply touched by all the positive support the Panthers have received from the Oakland community, and we are unwavering in our mission to keep professional football in Oakland."

The Indoor Football League announced Thursday that their season has been postponed until further notice.

The Alameda County Public Health Department recommended Thursday that all non-essential gatherings of 250 or more people be canceled.

The Oakland Panthers are slated to play their home games at Oakland Arena, the former home of the Golden State Warriors.

Every professional American sports league has either suspended or paused its season over the last few days.

Lynch became co-founder and co-owner of the Panthers in September in an effort to keep football in Oakland after the Raiders left for Las Vegas.

“My whole intention was to come back and play with them [the Raiders] until they left,” Lynch told The Mercury News' Dieter Kurtenbach last year. “[Arena football] wasn’t something I was looking at -- not even a little bit. But when the opportunity presented itself -- I’m a big dude on believing in timing and (stuff). This, at the time, really made sense.”

[RELATED: Raiders halt all travel due to coronavirus]

While Lynch and Panthers might have had good intentions to put the game on for fans, canceling it was the right call at the end of the day.

Marshawn Lynch's Oakland Panthers to suspend season due to coronavirus

Marshawn Lynch's Oakland Panthers to suspend season due to coronavirus

The world of sports has come to a screeching halt due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and the Indoor Football League is no exception.

The Oakland Panthers, co-owned by former Raiders and Cal running back Marshawn Lynch, announced Thursday that their season will be indefinitely postponed following Saturday’s game against the Iowa Barnstormers.

"The world is dealing with a crisis, and we owe it to our community to take responsible actions," the Panthers said Thursday in a team statement. "We, as an organization, must take the necessary steps to contribute to the global fight against COVID-19. We know that this postponement is disappointing to many fans, players, coaches, but we will be back as soon as it is responsible."

The Panthers announced that they would refund all tickets and parking passes for Saturday's game for those who wish to do so. The game will still be locally televised live on KBCW 44/Cable 12 and broadcast live on KNBR 1050.

[RELATED: NFL draft on schedule, but contingencies being discussed]

With most other professional leagues around the world having temporarily shut down, the Panthers' game on Saturday might be your last chance to watch live sports for some time.

Princeton students angry Marshawn Lynch announced as class speaker

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AP

Princeton students angry Marshawn Lynch announced as class speaker

Imagine being mad Marshawn Lynch will be speaking to you. Man, life must be hard as a Princeton student. 

A handful of Princeton students wrote an op-ed in the school newspaper showing displeasure with the school's decision to make the Oakland native and former Raiders running back their senior "Class Day" speaker in June. Lynch is not expected to speak at the commencement ceremony, but instead several days before graduation.

The group of students expressed their frustration lied more with the process than the selection. 

"As seniors, we had been looking forward to the speaker announcement for months," the letter starts. "Many of us were disappointed when we saw that this year’s speaker was to be Marshawn Lynch, mainly because we did not feel included in the process by which this speaker was nominated and finally selected."

But the students also pointed out Lynch's history with the media, citing several fines. 

"Among articles that praised his NFL career and philanthropic contributions, we came across articles discussing Lynch’s reticence with the media and his terse responses at press conferences," the students wrote. "In 2013 and 2014, for example, Lynch was fined $50,000 and $100,000 for refusing to speak to the media. During the 2015 Superbowl Media Day, Lynch famously responded to multiple questions with variants of 'I’m just here so I won’t get fined.'

"With no other frame of reference, such reports caused confusion over the set of criteria that led to his nomination."

Feeling left out of the selection process is understandable (I guess) but maybe these students should take a longer look at Princeton's statement for choosing Lynch. This is about much more than football. 

“Mr. Lynch’s sustained professional excellence is not the only reason we are excited to have him serve as our Class Day speaker. His substantive work in communities stands alongside his on-field success,” Class Day co-chairs Jonathan Haynes, Jaylin Lugardo and Caleb Visser wrote in an email to their fellow students.

“Our goal was to invite a speaker who embodies the various experiences we have shared as a community during our Princeton tenure; someone whose professional and personal passions speak to the service-focused and intellectually rigorous interests core to the University.”

Lynch, who attended Cal as a student-athlete, has been a beacon of hope in his community. He has been all about community and empowering those around him through his philanthropy work. When he returned to the Seahawks for their Week 17 matchup against the 49ers, he was seen mentoring rookie Travis Homer on the sidelines. 

After the Seahawks lost to the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs last season, which might have been Lynch's last game in the NFL, he didn't speak a word about himself. Instead, he sent a message to his teammates and younger players to take care of their mind and money. 

"Start takin’ care of y’all mentals and y’all bodies and y’all’s chicken," Lynch said after the loss. "So when y’all ready to, you know, walk away, you be able to do what you want to do." 

Marshawn Lynch is a five-time Pro Bowl running back and a Super Bowl champion. More importantly, he has been even more successful off the field. 

Princeton's "Class Day" speaker last year was actress Ellie Kemper, who played Erin Hannon in "The Office." I can go all sorts of ways about what that says about these students' anger towards choosing Lynch, an African-American athlete from Oakland, but ... I'm just here so I won't get fined.