OAKLAND – The Raiders stood a full attention during the national anthem prior to Thursday’s exhibition against Seattle.
The Seahawks were a man down. Cornerback Jeremy Lane sat during the anthem, supporting 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s controversial protest of police brutality against minorities that have dominated headlines in recent months.
Roughly 500 miles south, Kaepernick and teammate Eric Reid kneeled during the anthem prior to the 49ers exhibition in San Diego. Kaepernick had been sitting through the national anthem during the preseason but the act was only recognized Friday, when he was dressed to play the Green Bay Packers.
It has created a multi-pronged national debate about his style of protest, the timing of it and whether his message rang clear.
Lane chose to sit Thursday night in solidarity.
“I wasn’t trying to say anything,” Lane said after Thursday’s preseason finale at Oakland-Alameda Coliseum. “I was just standing behind Kaepernick.”
He and Kaepernick aren’t friends, and the Seahawk wasn’t asked to join the protest. Lane didn't directly discuss police brutality issues in a transcript presented by the team. He said this wasn’t a one-time event.
“I think I plan (to) keep on doing it,” Lane said. “Until I feel like justice has been served.”
Kaepernick was heavily criticized this week for what many considered disrespect to the flag and the military the anthem is played to honor. Lane says he is ready for a backlash.
“I’m prepared for it,” Lane said. “I don’t mean to disrespect anybody. I’m just standing behind what I believe in.”
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was not angered by Lane’s choice.
“It’s totally an individual decision,” Carroll said. “This is a very interesting issue that we’re dealing with right now. The team has been working at it. We’re in the process of communicating about what’s up right now. …I’m really proud of the progress we’re making in conversation and I look forward to continuing it with our guys.
“It’s really important for us to understand and be smart about what we’re doing and how we handle business. Like I’ve been telling them, we have a great group of guys on this team and they’re going to help us move forward. I’m very much in support of them and how we want to see an individual succeed.”