The 2017 offseason was eventful for the Oakland Raiders, mostly for one reason: Marshawn Lynch in Silver and Black. Now fans are wondering if they jumped the gun.
Hometown folk hero Marshawn Lynch signed a 2-year $9,000,000 deal this offseason with the team he grew up watching, the Oakland Raiders. Raider Nation was all abuzz with the new addition to the Silver and Black and continued to laud Reggie McKenzie’s pickup through the first two weeks of the season. When Week 3 hit, Lynch’s production began to wane and fans started to cool off.
Beginning with Week 3’s poor performance by the entire offense versus the Washington Redskins, Lynch’s production started a two-game skid, posting a total of 30 yards combined against Washington and the Denver Broncos. His numbers started improving against the Baltimore Ravens and continued to trend upwards until Thursday night’s game against the Chiefs. That’s when Raider Nation held their collective breath and watched their would-be hero stick a nail in his own coffin. For the night, anyways.
After a late hit on quarterback Derek Carr by Kansas City safety Marcus Peters, an altercation broke out on the field between the entire offensive line and Peters. Lynch, who is very close to Peters, ran from the sidelines onto the field and inserted himself into the scuffle. After grabbing a fist full of black and white stripes, he was promptly ejected from the game without further discussion.
Questions arose after seeing him accost the referee, seemingly in defense of Peters. Those questions included Lynch’s dedication to the team, his dedication to himself, his dedication to his brand, and his dedication to his family. So which one is it? Only Lynch can answer that and thus far he hasn’t confirmed one way or another. Pro-Bowl left tackle Donald Penn came to his defense after the game, but only as respects Lynch’s dedication to family.
Two schools of thought
The situation on Thursday brought out two very different viewpoints. Was Marshawn Lynch defending his quarterback? Or was he running in to protect someone he’s very close to, regardless of uniform? Running onto the field at any point in the game without a helmet on and without checking in is a big no-no in the NFL. But it might be a little more acceptable depending on the reason behind it. Then again, maybe not.
Protecting the team
The Raiders have been surrounded by ugly rumors since the Week 3 anthem protests that the offensive line was trying to teach Derek Carr a lesson because he didn’t kneel along with them. Seeing the whole line come to Carr’s defense on Thursday was a welcome sight to put those ridiculous rumors to rest. The prospect that someone like Lynch would leave the bench and run to aid his quarterback is even more impressive, to say the least. If that is what he intended, would it be acceptable?
Protecting your family
Marcus Peters grew up in Oakland and was in close contact with Lynch for much of his life. Although not blood related, they refer to each other as cousins. Most everyone understands that type of relationship: a person you’re so close to that you endear them as much as your blood relatives. This is certainly a relatable situation for most of us. So to think he would get himself ejected from his workplace for coming to the aid of a family member isn’t too far-fetched. But is it ok on a football field?
Bottom Line – It’s not OK
Each of these are valid points, however, there is a right answer. It’s not OK to run onto the field. I absolutely love the idea that Lynch would go so far to protect his quarterback or his friend from a kerfuffle. But on a football field, people get in tiffs all the time. These are manimals in their purest form. When they step onto that field, they’re no longer mere mortals, they’re gladiators. Testosterone is at its peak, men say and do things that they wouldn’t do in any other situation, and fighting is one of those things. It’s a normal part of the game and the refs are there to handle these situations as they arise. Cooler heads prevail much more often than not and players and refs step in to diffuse the aggression that comes from being at full-bore for 60 straight minutes.
Lynch crossed a line, regardless of his intent. Being a ten-year vet of the league, he should have known better and let the appropriate people handle it. Respectable as you may think it, he put himself above the needs of his teammates, whether he was defending them or not. A one-game suspension was an easy pill to swallow, considering the league could have been much harsher. For a guy who is just here so he doesn’t get fined, he’s acted like he has all the money in the world to throw around at those fines.