49ers General Manager John Lynch Calls Anthem Protests ‘Divisive’

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AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

San Francisco 49ers General Manager John Lynch does not feel that protesting during the playing of the national anthem helps to unify the country. In fact, he thinks it is “divisive.”

As the anthem protests continue with the start of the NFL preseason, the discussion is reaching nearly every corner of the NFL. However, according to Pro Football Talk, Lynch clearly wishes it wasn’t this way.

“We had a great deal the other day where we had four chairs up here, and there was Steve Young and Jerry Rice,” Lynch said. “And they talked about ‘The 49er Way.’ And I always thought that’s one of the great things about this league. As a matter of fact, I think it’s a great beacon for the rest of culture, in terms of the way it should be. You strive for a common goal, and you have unity.

“And I think this game brings people together. So I think personally, when I see that, I think that’s divisive. And I understand guys see things, and they’re not happy. They have that right, and I think we’ll always respect people’s rights. That doesn’t mean I believe that. I believe this game should be celebrated for what it is. I think [it’s] a tremendous unifier for our country and for the way things should be.”

Lynch also noted that the team and its officials have no problem talking to the players concerning their feelings about protesting the anthem.

Though, he seemed dismayed by the fact that the  discord over the anthem protests has distracted people from the stories of unity and camaraderie, that one finds in the NFL.

“You take guys from all over the county, different socio-economic backgrounds, racial backgrounds, and you have friends for life,” Lynch concluded. “Those types of stories I think get lost in something like this. But they’ve got their reasons [for the protests], and we’ll always be respectful of those.”

Lynch’s comments echoed those of Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll who said that he thinks everyone should stand for the anthem.

Seattle Seahawks Michael Bennett and the Raider’s Marshawn Lynch, continued the anthem protest this year by staying seated for the national anthem during last weekend’s games.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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