Marshawn Lynch, a running back for the Oakland Raiders, seems to have taken the National Anthem protests to a new level. Before their game Sunday against the New England Patriots, Lynch not only sat during the playing of the "Star-Spangled Banner," he then stood up when they began to play the Mexican national anthem.
Lynch emerged from retirement to play for the Raiders this year, but has refused to stand for the playing of the National Anthem. In October, Lynch wore a “Everybody vs. Trump” t-shirt, but has otherwise made no public comments about what exactly he is protesting.
President Donald Trump predictably tweeted a response to Lynch’s actions: “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.”
Rather than rein in their employees (the players) the National Football League has opted to morph into a political organization, even promising players that it would back the causes targeted by the protesters, such as reform of the criminal justice system. While reform of the criminal justice system is certainly a legitimate issue for public discussion, many fans would question why the NFL, as an organization, should be taking particular policy positions on that issue, or any other issue. After all, there are many issues that concern Americans, such as immigration, abortion, taxes, spending, and the like. Will the NFL now take a position on these issues, as well?
Why the NFL, as an entertainment company, should take a position on any public issue, is not clear. In contrast, IHOP has no foreign policy, despite it being the International House of Pancakes.
The protests began when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said that police were being rewarded with paid time off for killing people. Kaepernick also praised former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and has even worn socks illustrating police as pigs, and shirts lionizing communist revolutionary Che Guevera.
While America certainly has its issues, one must wonder if Lynch really believes Mexico is a better country. Many of Mexico’s residents have voted with their feet by heading to the United States, entering this country both legally and illegally. One would think that they are seeking a better life than the one they left in Mexico. It would be odd that they are desirous of sneaking into a country they believe is the terrible place Lynch, Kaepernick, and other wealthy NFL players evidently believe that it is.
More than one and one quarter-million Mexican citizens are on a waiting list to migrate to America legally. An additional number arrive in the United States without permission. In fact, almost 12 million Mexican immigrants, of a Mexican population of 123 million, live in America. That is about 10 percent of that nation’s population. If the United States simply opened its doors to any person from Mexico who wished to immigrate here, it has been estimated as much as one-half would. In contrast, about one million Americans, mostly retirees, move to Mexico. This is less than one-third of one percent of American citizens relocating south of the border.
Yet, Lynch indicated by his actions that he holds more respect for Mexico than his own country.
It is likely that Lynch and other NFL players who hold America in such low regard could find many Mexican citizens who would gladly trade places with them. Perhaps Lynch could rent a room from one of those American retirees.
Photo of Marshawn Lynch (prior to days an an Oakland Raider): U.S. Army