Raiders’ Derek Carr and Khalil Mack say Their Subtle Anthem Gesture Is No Protest

Quarterback Derek Carr celebrates with linebacker Khalil Mack after Mack’s fumble recovery against Buffalo on Dec. 4.
Photo: Brian Bahr, Getty Images

Although Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch won’t discuss why he is sitting for the national anthem, teammates Derek Carr and Khalil Mack were in the locker room late Saturday night, explaining their subtle actions during the anthem before the preseason game against the Rams.

Carr placed his right hand on Mack’s left shoulder as a show of solidarity, they said.

“We’re not protesting,” Carr said. “We’re not doing anything like that. What we wanted to do was show all the kids that look up to me, look up to him, that white kids, blue kids, brown kids, blue, green, doesn’t matter, can all be loving to each other.”

Mack said he wanted to “show unity” between “different races.”

“White, black, whatever you are, get along. … Show togetherness,” Mack said. “It’s discussed a lot. It’s one of the things I feel passionately about, but I just don’t like the attention, the attention that comes with it. But at the same time, just using my platform for positivity is what’s important for me.”


As Carr said, everyone is watching what players do now during the national anthem. While Seattle defensive lineman Michael Bennett sits to protest social injustice, and has said that Lynch, his former teammate, is doing the same, Carr said he and Mack wanted to go about it a different way, together.

“Obviously, we see what’s going on in the world,” Carr said. “Obviously, everyone pays attention to the national anthem nowadays, and so we just said this was the best time to do it while still honoring our country. Because I love this country, more than anything. We’re free to live here and play this game, but we’re also free to show each other that we love one another. …

“We wanted to show them that it’s OK for a white kid and a black kid that come from two different neighborhoods (to) grow up and love one another and be best friends.”

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SOURCE: SFGate – Vic Tafur