Oakland Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch sits during national anthem

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch (24) sits during the national anthem prior to an NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Credit: Rick Scuteri

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Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch (24) sits during the national anthem prior to an NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Credit: Rick Scuteri

Credit: Rick Scuteri

It only took one game for Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch to make headlines in his return season.

Lynch staged a protest by staying seated during the playing of the national anthem before his team’s preseason game Saturday with the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.

ESPN reported that Lynch was spotted sitting on a cooler while holding a banana during the anthem.

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The typically mum Lynch didn’t offer any comments to the media after the game, but Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said he spoke to the tailback afterward and wasn’t aware that he was planning to stay seated.

“(Lynch) said, ‘This is something I’ve done for 11 years, it’s not a form of anything other than me being myself.’ I said, ‘So, you understand how I feel. I very strongly believe in standing for the national anthem, but I’m going to respect you as a man. You do your thing and we’ll do ours. So, that’s a non-issue for me,” Del Rio said, according to ESPN.

Related: Seahawks’ Michael Bennett sits during anthem: 'It's about being a human being'

Lynch is following in the footsteps of unemployed quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is still an unsigned free agent. Kaepernick sparked controversy for some by kneeling during the national anthem as a form of protest during the beginning of the 2016 season. Lynch was retired last season when Kaepernick’s protest made national headlines.

In September, Lynch spoke about Kaeperick's protest while on Conan O'Brien's late night show.

“I’d rather see him take a knee than stand up, put his hands up and get murdered,” he said.

The Raiders lost to the Cardinals 20-10 in their preseason opener, and Lynch did not play.

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