NAPA – Raiders tight end Jared Cook hasn't formally spoken to teammate Marshawn Lynch about his decision to sit during the national anthem during Saturday's exhibition opener against Arizona.
It's assumed by many to be in protest of racial inequality and mistreatment of minorities, especially on the heels of racially fueled violence in Charlottesville, Va. Count Cook among them.
The veteran running back has remained mum on the matter in public and, with Cook at least, in private.
If he was in fact protesting by sitting out the national anthem, tight end Cook is glad Lynch took a stand. Cook has stood up against racial inequality, most notably after racial unrest caused by police shootings in Ferguson, Mo., while with the St. Louis Rams. He said it's vital to speak out against injustice.
"I'm proud of him," tight end Jared Cook told reporters, with quotes via the Associated Press. "I think it's awesome. Everybody has points of discussion after what happened in Charlottesville just the night before. I think it's important for men in our position to step up and speak on unnecessary situations we find ourselves in as minorities in this country. That's why I'm proud of him."
Former 49ers Colin Kaepernick became the face of the anthem protest movement last year, when he kneeled during the national anthem and was joined by others around the league.
Cook said he has thought about joining a new round of protests, including one executed by Seattle's Michael Bennett before a Sunday exhibition against the Los Angeles Chargers. Unlike Lynch, Bennett articulated his reasoning well in postgame comments. Cook said it's uncertain whether he'll join in.
"As far as the future goes, I don't know. I don't know," he said. "I know I feel uneasy about the situation going on in this country and have been for a while."