RENTON Jeremy Lane will sit again this weekend during the National Anthem before the Seahawks’ season opener, continuing his protest of racial inequality in our country.
Seattle’s defensive back said following Monday’s practice he will repeat what he did last week in Oakland before the preseason finale: follow San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s lead from last month in sitting on his team’s bench rather than stand as every other player on the field and person in the stadium will do Sunday during the traditional pregame playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Lane acknowledged home fans’ reactions at CenturyLink Field may be different -- and not all good -- compared to the fans in Oakland Thursday. Most there didn’t notice he was sitting because they were focused on their Raiders, and the status quo of another National Anthem before a game.
“Could be. Could be,” a to-the-point Lane said of it being a different reaction Sunday in Seattle. “We’ll see.”
Lane said he is planning on continuing to sit -- and not kneel, as Kaepernick and a 49ers teammate did last week before San Francisco’s preseason finale at San Diego. So Lane’s protest may continue beyond Sunday to include Seattle’s Sept. 18 game at Los Angeles -- and beyond.
He said Kaepernick “reached out to me” since last week.
The 49ers’ quarterback’s message to his NFC West-rival cornerback?
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said last week he thinks multiple teammates have talked about sitting during the anthem to protest our country’s race relations. Lane said he’s not sure if any Seahawks will join him Sunday in his statement.
“I don’t know,” Lane said. “I don’t want to put pressure on no one. I’m doing it for me.”
After the exhibition against the Raiders, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he was supporting Lane’s individuality and right to express his views. Carroll talked to Lane after that game.
"It’s totally an individual decision," Carroll said late Thursday. "Very interesting issues we are dealing with right now. Our team has been working on it, and we are in the process of communicating about a lot of stuff right now.
"I’m really proud of the progress we’re making in the conversation. I look forward to continuing with our guys. It’s really important to us, to understand and be smart in how we handle business…
"This was an individual decision."
Carroll’s message to his player?
“He’s standing behind me,” Lane said of his coach.
Lane said his teammates are standing behind him, as well.
“No one has given me any problem about it, so obviously yes,” Lane said.
He added he hasn’t heard directly from fans, at all.
Always-opinionated Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett says he supports Lane.
“It’s his right to be able to protest, and I think it’s alright,” Bennett said. “There’s definitely some issues in America that a lot of people are starting to recognize...
“I think it’s cool that Jeremy Lane is doing what he wants to do. Obviously, there’s so much going on right now in America. Football’s just a small part of what we do. At the end of the day, we’ll be football players for 12 years or 10 years or whatever it is, but ... we’re still minorities and Black men in America. And that’s what we’re going to be for the rest of our life...
“It’s not just the African-American players. It’s the white players, too. They all see it, and we talk about it. It’s good. It’s good that we can have a conversation about it and people don’t get angry and people understand where people are coming from. And you just understand both sides of it.”
Lane turned 26 this month. He is from Tyler, Texas, an hour and a half east of Dallas – where a gunman killed policemen this summer at a demonstration against police shootings of minorities around the country. Lane played collegiately at Northwestern State, a Football Championship Subdivision team in Natchitoches, Louisiana. He went to college near Fort Polk, an Army training center in northwest Louisiana, and three hours from Baton Rogue, where one of those police killings of minorities happened this summer.
I asked Lane Monday if where he went to school or where he’s from has a relationship to this issue.
“No,” Lane said, flatly.
Kaepernick announced last week his intent to give $1 million of his 2016 football earnings to charities dedicated to the issues he is spotlighting. He is scheduled to earn $11.9 million in base salary from the 49ers this year.
If Lane were to follow Kaepernick in that way, proportionally, he would donate about $168,000; Lane is earning $2 million guaranteed from the Seahawks in 2016.
I asked Lane -- while acknowledging he doesn’t make Kaepernick money, to which Lane said “yeah” -- if he’s considered donating money similarly.
“No, I haven’t thought about that,” he said. “Not saying I won’t, but I haven’t thought about that.”