DANNY ONEIL

Seahawks CB Jeremy Lane sits down for national anthem

Sep 1, 2016, 7:44 PM | Updated: Sep 2, 2016, 4:33 pm
Jeremy Lane sat during the national anthem a week after Colin Kaepernick made news doing the same. ...
Jeremy Lane sat during the national anthem a week after Colin Kaepernick made news doing the same. (AP)
(AP)

OAKLAND, Calif. – Cornerback Jeremy Lane sat on the Seahawks’ bench during the performance of the national anthem before Thursday’s preseason game against the Raiders.

The move came less than a week after 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick remained seated during the national anthem, telling reporter Steve Wyche of NFL Media that it was due to the oppression of minorities in America. More specifically, he referenced shootings by police officers that have gone unpunished.

Lane said after the game his gesture was a sign of solidarity with the 49ers’ quarterback.

“I wasn’t trying to say anything,” Lane said. “Just standing behind Kaepernick.”

O’Neil: Lane’s protest is an opportunity to learn about him, not judge him

Lane said he did not inform people of his intention to sit during the national anthem. Cornerback Richard Sherman said he was told by Lane of the intention to sit during the anthem.

“Everybody’s entitled,” Sherman said. “That’s our country. You’re free to say what you want and express yourself in a way that you feel is in line with what you believe and that’s what he did. He sat down. He wanted to make a point, and I think he made a great point.”

Sherman reiterated that sitting during the anthem is not the way that he – personally – would choose to make the point.

“Any time you just stand up against the flag it’s going to be tough,” Sherman said. “Obviously, Jeremy doesn’t stand against people who sacrificed to this country or anything like that. He understands the guys who have made the greatest sacrifice for our countries and our freedoms, but he also understands the oppression our country has put African-Americans through for years and put minorities through for years. I think that’s something they’re looking to get recognized and look for people to make a change to.”

Coach Pete Carroll did not know of Lane’s intention to sit during the anthem.

“It’s totally an individual decision,” Carroll said.

Carroll also pointed to the support and space the franchise has given its players during his seven years in charge of the team.

“The individuals in this program have always been very crucial to us,” Carroll said, “and recognizing them, and this is another time. We support our guys.”

Carroll said the team and its leaders in the locker room have been discussing these types of social issues.

“We’ve been in the process of communicating about a lot of stuff right now,” Carroll said. “That was an individual thing. I’m really proud of the progress we’re making in the conversation and I look forward to continuing it with our guys.

“It’s really important to us to understand and to be smart about what we’re doing and how we handle our business. Like I’ve been telling you, we have a great group of guys that lead this team and they’re going to help us as we move forward. I’m very much in support of them and how we handled it. This was an individual statement.”

Lane said after the game he intends to continue sitting during the national anthem.

“It’s something I plan on doing until I feel like justice has been served,” Lane said.

Kaepernick went down to one knee during the national anthem before San Francisco’s preseason finale at San Diego on Thursday. Nate Boyer – who played with the Seahawks last year in the preseason and is a veteran and former Green Beret – was Kaepernick’s guest at the game.

On Thursday in Oakland, the anthem was performed by saxophone before Seattle’s preseason finale.

Lane is in his fifth year with the Seahawks, having re-signed in the offseason. He was chosen in the sixth round out of Northwestern (La.) State. He is expected to be Seattle’s starting right cornerback this season.

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