calls for Lynch suspension if anthem protest continues
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[November 21, 2017]
By Rory Carroll
(Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump
on Monday said Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch should be
suspended by the NFL if he continues to protest during the national
anthem after Lynch sat during a rendition of the song before
Sunday's game in Mexico City.
Lynch and other NFL players have taken a knee or sat during the
anthem as a way to protest police brutality and racial inequality in
the U.S. Trump has called their actions disrespectful to the country
and in the past has said protesting players should be fired.
After sitting during the "Star-Spangled Banner," the five-time Pro
Bowler rose for the Mexican National Anthem while getting equipment
put on. The Raiders went on to lose 33-8 to the New England Patriots
at Estadio Azteca.
"Marshawn Lynch of the NFL's Oakland Raiders stands for the Mexican
Anthem and sits down to boos for our National Anthem," Trump
tweeted. "Great disrespect! Next time NFL should suspend him for
remainder of season. Attendance and ratings way down."
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Reuters the league will not move
to suspend Lynch, who has sat during the anthem all season long.
"That's not something that's under consideration," he said in an
email on Monday.
"We've said that we would like to see everyone at our games stand
for the anthem. We have been working with players on platforms that
highlight social issues and promote initiatives that make our
NFL television ratings have fallen this year. Through the first six
weeks of the NFL season, total viewership of games is down 7.5
percent, compared with the first six weeks of 2016, according to
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Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch (24) sits on a cooler during the
National Anthem prior to the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard
Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
But it is not known whether the lower ratings are linked to NFL
player protests or are part of a wider trend of people using other
platforms instead of watching television.
A Super Bowl champion in the 2013/14 season with the Seattle
Seahawks, Lynch joined the Raiders this year after a brief
retirement following the 2015 season.
He earned a one-game suspension last month for running onto the
field and pushing an official during a quarrel between players
during the Raiders win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
The White House, the NFL Players Association and the Raiders did not
respond to requests for comment.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll, editing by Larry King)
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