Chargers coach Anthony Lynn has NFL's strongest reaction to protests of George Floyd's death

Sporting News

There have been many statements released by the NFL, teams, players and coaches calling for social justice reform in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis and the global protests that have followed. None will resonate more than what Chargers coach Anthony Lynn told the Los Angeles Times.

In a candid, lengthy interview with columnist LZ Granderson, Lynn explained why he needed to go beyond the release of one condensed statement. While offering praise for the many good officers he has encountered and the work his team has done, Lynn told Granderson that "nothing has changed" since the 1992 Los Angeles riots following video evidence of police brutality against Rodney King.

"The Chargers have done more in the community than just about any organization I’ve been with. I’ve been out in the community, talking with Mayor Garcetti, and I’ve been to the juvenile detention centers to encourage young men to do something positive with their life when they get out, and City Council people about making LA a better place. This stuff that’s taking place with police brutality and unarmed black men dying and white people feeling like they can use their privilege to threaten black people like that white woman did in Central Park, that’s ridiculous.

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"How do we affect that type of change? Where’s the accountability for that kind of (expletive)? That’s where I’m at right now. I’m angry, I’m pissed off and I don’t want to just put out a pretty statement. ... It was not a good feeling and I felt that way all over again watching George Floyd. We haven’t gotten better at all and in some cases, hell, it might have gotten worse."

MORE: Dan Le Batard blasts NFL over league's response to protests

Lynn made it clear he does not just want to be part of the conversation in 2020. He also wants to do anything he can to work toward an actual solution.

"We have so many videos of unarmed black men dying over the last decade, and there’s no accountability, there are not consequences, like it’s OK," Lynn added. "I just didn’t expect that at this point in time. What we’ve been doing is obviously not working, and so we need to do something different. If it’s radical, then it’s radical. And I want to be a part of that."

In talking with Granderson from his own home, Lynn also was asked to recall former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick trying to bring attention to the lingering issue with his protest during the national anthem at NFL games years ago.

"People completely misunderstood Colin and what he was trying to do," Lynn said. "People talked about disrespecting the flag ... the flag covers a lot — patriotism and civil rights and other things. And Colin was speaking out against the injustice and a lot of people didn’t catch on to that because it was happening during the national anthem

"They thought it was disrespectful to the flag. I was surprised by the number of people who didn’t know why he was protesting. ... I thought it was a shame that Colin’s message got lost because people kept bringing up patriotism. It was brave for him to do that. I have a lot of respect for that young man standing up for something outside of the 'Big 3' — God, family, football — and I have to say social justice right now is challenging my priorities. Right now I can’t think of anything besides social justice."

Lynn is one of three African-American head coaches in the NFL. Before him, the Dolphins' Brian Flores made a powerful statement in reaction to the George Floyd incident. Patrick Mahomes, the new face of the NFL, also had some poignant words to share Monday.

But Lynn's willingness to offer all of his thoughts — angry and passionate while remaining cool and collected — is inspiring leadership. Every word of the interview will connect with those who feel the same.

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