SEATTLE — He’s probably the most colorful character in Seattle sports history.
But recently, Marshawn Lynch has been taking a stand—by sitting for the national anthem.
“I don’t think anyone can be successful in trying to change Marshawn Lynch. He’s going to do what he’s going to do anyway,” said former Sounder Steve Zakuani.
He said it’s not surprising that Lynch is back in the crosshairs of controversy—this time, the Donald Trump Twitter feed calling out the Raiders running back for standing for the Mexican anthem at a game in Mexico City on Sunday while sitting for the U.S. anthem.
Zakuani said the conversation won’t likely die down.
“That means it’s been effective. Protests are supposed to be disruptive. It’s supposed to make people extremely uncomfortable,” Zakuani said.
But Trump calling out people by name has come with trouble in the past—from an ESPN personality, to the UCLA basketball players detained in China, many of the twitter attacks have been aimed at African Americans.
Zakuani said it’s unfortunate to paint lynch as being a bad guy who hates the country.
“Marshawn is probably the most authentic athlete that I’ve met. We have a lot of mutual friends in this city, we’ve crossed paths many times,” he said.
Zakuani recalled that generosity and court jester Beast Mode this summer when Lynch flew in to help with a charity soccer tournament.
“But the second he found out it was for scholarships for the youth, it was a no-brainer. Right away he was coming,” he said.
Lynch spends time and money in the East Bay near Oakland and helping the disadvantaged. The city’s mayor blasted the Trump tweet.
“I’m not going to stand for that. That’s not who Oakland is. In Oakland, we know that the First Amendment gives us the right to protest, even our government, even our president,” said Libby Schaaf.
Zakuani thinks the movement’s narrative has been hijacked by critics like the president—and that it’s turned from police reform to somehow hating the military and country.
Maybe time to take a stand in a different way.
“Now we have to question if they need to change their method of protest. And it’s not because they did anything wrong, because the response is getting from people who refuse to see it,” he said.