Raiders' Marshawn Lynch sits during national anthem before game vs. Cardinals

Professional football star Marshawn Lynch

Marshawn Lynch appeared to stage a silent protest in his return to the NFL as the Oakland Raiders' running back remained seated during the national anthem prior to the team's exhibition opener at the Arizona Cardinals.

In his first game back since the 2015 season, Lynch was dressed in uniform but did not play.

With all of the continued buzz surrounding former San Francisco 49ers and current free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick, it is no surprise that Lynch's decision forced a reaction from Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio.

PFT tracked down a video of the national anthem before the November 13, 2011 Ravens-Seahawks game in Seattle, and that video clearly shows Lynch standing for the anthem.

During an interview on Conan a year ago, Lynch discussed former San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaeperneck taking a knee during the anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice. "I said, 'So you understand how I feel".

Del Rio told reporters he did not believe Lynch sitting would be a distraction. Lynch, who was retired for the 2016 season, suited up but didn't take the field against the Arizona Cardinals. Lynch has not spoken to the media at this time, so it's unclear if his statement and the incident are directly related. "It's not a form of anything other than me being myself, '" Del Rio said, via ESPN. Lynch voiced support for Kaepernick while speaking to talk-show host Conan O'Brien previous year, and Saturday's sit-down came right after racially-motivated protests and violence recently took place in Charlottesville, Va.

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